Eden Hazard appears to be taking his Belgium captaincy very seriously and revealed he told Romelu Lukaku to stop “hiding” in a lively half time dressing down which inspired his second half brace in Belgium’s laboured 3-0 victory against Panama.
Lukaku touched the ball seven times in the first half, once in the opposition penalty area, and at half time Hazard gave the Manchester United forward a piece of his mind and accused him of “going missing.”
“At half-time, I told him we needed him. He’d been hiding out a bit up front,” Hazard revealed to reporters after Belgium’s opening World Cup game.
“It’s not easy playing with a man missing. But once he got in there, involved in the game, like magic, he scores two. I hope he understands now.”
After a bleak start, Dries Mertens’ scored a spectacular volley then Lukaku netted a brace to get the dark horses' tournament underway.
The uninspiring half against the 55th ranked side in the world and the public dressing down from the captain has fuelled rumours of disharmony in the Red Devils camp.
Jan Vertonghen was frequently seen shouting at Yannick Carrasco during the match and manager Roberto Martinez gave his side Wednesday off to ease any tensions between the players.
“My team can share views,” Martinez said. “Any sort of negative word between the players…is not a type of attitude that we have.
“Of course, we want to demand from each other, and that’s natural, what happens in the dressing room.”
“Romelu Lukaku plays football to be the best in his position,” the Spaniard added. “He can be as good as he wants to be.”
Belgium’s most capped player, Vertonghen, has been quick to play down any suggestions of tension between the players. “We’re a complete team,” the Tottenham defender said. “There’s always going to be stress, but I think we coped well.”
Belgium face Tunisia on Saturday before the Group G showdown against England on Thursday 28.
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