Hazard to get Belgian number 10 shirt

23 May 2012 02:47

New Belgium coach Marc Wilmots is to hand star striker Eden Hazard the number 10 shirt for the friendly matches against Montenegro and England.

"No one is bigger than the team but I'm planning to give a special role to Eden," said Wilmots of the Lille forward, whose performances for the French side have attracted interest from a number of big European clubs.

"He's been particularly strong for the last two seasons with Lille in Ligue 1. He's getting better and better and has wanted for a while to play in big matches for the national side as well.

"He's always wanted to wear the number 10 shirt and he will get it."

Hazard, 21, made his international debut in 2008 and has so far won 26 caps for Belgium but unlike in the French league, where he netted 20 times this season, has only scored a single goal at international level.

The young forward had strained relations with the former Belgian coach Georges Leekens, who resigned to take up the manager's role at FC Bruges. Wilmots, his assistant, is in charge for at least the next two matches.

Wilmots said Hazard needs to be given a freer role to make him more effective for Belgium.

Belgium has not qualified for the upcoming European championships in Poland and Ukraine and has not played in a major competition since the 2002 World Cup, when they lost in the round of 16 to eventual winners Brazil.

Source: AFP