When Fernando Santos known as time on his eight-year stint as Portugal head coach after their 2022 World Cup quarter-final elimination, few would have appropriately predicted his substitute.
Roberto Martinez additionally left his nationwide group function after the match in Qatar, with Belgium disappointingly falling on the group stage.
The previous Everton and Wigan Athletic boss took the Pink Devils to the World Cup semi-finals in 2018, earlier than reaching the final eight of Euro 2020, being eradicated by the eventual winners in each.
Martinez finds himself in control of A Selecao now after his appointment was confirmed on Monday, and there may be loads of work to be executed.
Qualifiers for the 2024 European Championships get underway in March and with the expertise at their disposal, Portugal should be fancied to be among the many favorites for the match in Germany.
Stats Carry out has taken a take a look at 5 issues in Martinez’s in-tray that he might want to contemplate if he’s to seek out success along with his new group.
Clear up the Ronaldo conundrum
“Selections should be made on the pitch. I will not rush into choices. I need to meet everybody, and from at present I need to discuss and meet all of the gamers,” Martinez stated at his first press convention as Portugal coach.
“Christian [Ronaldo] is a part of that listing. He is had 19 years within the nationwide group and he deserves respect, let’s discuss. From there, it is as much as me to make one of the best listing for the European Championships.”
Ronaldo has 118 objectives in 196 caps for Portugal, undeniably a global file to be happy with, however he shall be 38 years previous when Martinez takes cost of his first sport.
One of many new boss’ largest points with Belgium was getting one of the best out of growing older stars, and with Portugal arguably trying far sharper when Ronaldo was benched in Qatar – hat-trick hero v Switzerland Goncalo Ramos specifically – maybe now could be the right time to permit the previous Actual Madrid and Juventus man to totally give attention to his new journey in Saudi Arabia and name time on his worldwide profession.
Getting one of the best out of Joao Felix
It is a downside Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is all too accustomed to, therefore why Joao Felix is being linked with a mortgage transfer to the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal as a substitute of lighting up LaLiga on a weekly foundation.
The 23-year-old has loads of expertise, however a scarcity of consistency believes the nine-figure charge Atletico paid Benfica for him again in 2019.
If Martinez chooses to maneuver on from Ronaldo although, Joao Felix might discover the area and accountability to thrive at worldwide degree as a part of a group the place everybody can be anticipated to chip in.
Of the gamers to have featured in not less than 14 LaLiga video games this season, solely Mikel Merino, Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele common greater than Joao Felix’s 0.42 assists per 90.
Use Dias to construct strong basis
Arguably Martinez’s predominant battle by the top of his time with Belgium was managing a protection full of gamers who had been a number of years previous their prime.
He might want to guarantee that Portugal keep freshness there as protection will all the time offer you an opportunity in worldwide competitions, corresponding to when Portugal conceded simply as soon as in 4 knockout video games on their solution to successful Euro 2016.
One key resolution may very well be taken out of his palms, with Pepe anticipated to announce his retirement from worldwide soccer, however in Ruben Dias, Martinez has the right determine to construct his protection round.
The Manchester Metropolis centre-back is without doubt one of the finest in Europe and has proven beneath Pep Guardiola he will also be relied upon in a backline that pushes excessive to shut area and permits the assault to press from the entrance, one thing Martinez has usually favored when he has had the instruments to take action.
Construct round Bruno
Since his transfer to Man Utd in January 2020, Bruno Fernandes has confirmed himself to be one of many premier midfielders in Europe, and on the World Cup, he started to point out that he can lead for his nationwide group as effectively.
Solely Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi (each 10) had extra aim involvements than Fernandes’ 5 (two objectives, three assists) in Qatar, whereas no-one produced greater than his three assists.
Within the Premier League this season, solely Kevin De Bruyne (41) has created extra possibilities from open play than his 40, with the Manchester Metropolis man having performed a sport extra, and with loads of attacking firepower to intention for with Portugal, Fernandes can in concept fill his help boots over the approaching years beneath Martinez.
Take advantage of Leo
A type of Fernandes skills must be working with is Rafael Leao, one of the crucial thrilling attackers in Europe proper now.
Whereas Santos had loads of different high-quality gamers to select from, it was stunning to see Leao lowered to only substitute appearances in all 5 video games on the World Cup, although he nonetheless produced two objectives earlier than Portugal had been ultimately eradicated by Morocco within the quarter-finals .
The Milan ahead ought to actually be Martinez’s main weapon on the left of the assault, particularly if he can replicate the shape that noticed him win Serie A’s participant of the season award because the Rossoneri claimed the Scudetto in 2021-22.