Martinez sings De Bruyne’s praises

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GLASGOW (Reuters) – Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has hailed Kevin De Bruyne as “the best playmaker in the world” after he scored one goal and set up three more in their 4-0 win over Scotland in Euro 2020 qualifying on Monday.

Belgium were without injured captain Eden Hazard but his absence went unnoticed as the world’s top ranked team turned in a slick, overwhelming performance, going 3-0 up by halftime.

With six wins from six games in Group I, the Belgians need just two points from their remaining four matches to be sure of a place at next year’s finals.

“For me, he is the best playmaker in the world,” said Martinez. “Playmakers dictate the tempo, give perfect passes and they take responsibility. He did all of that against Scotland.”

Martinez also said he was glad to see other players step up and lead the way with Hazard out injured.

“I was really pleased with the performances of our experienced players particularly because Eden Hazard was not here,” he added.

“They had to take over the leadership and show by example, and I thought Jan Vertonghen did that perfectly, he’s a really strong leader.”

Despite the praise being heaped upon De Bruyne’s shoulders, the Manchester City man played down his performance.

“I didn’t play a world class match, I just did my job,” he told reporters.

“When your career is over, then you can look back at what you did. But at this moment I just want to win matches.”

De Bruyne made his full international debut in 2010, and has since earned over 70 caps and scored 17 goals for Belgium. He was a member of the Belgian squads that reached the quarter-finals both at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cup and at UEFA Euro 2016.

Belgium, three points ahead of Russia in their group, next face San Marino in Brussels on October 10.

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