Chelsea star Eden Hazard is 'not a false nine' for Belgium ahead of World Cup 2018, confirms Roberto Martinez

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Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez says he will not follow Antonio Conte’s lead and deploy Eden Hazard as a false nine on the international stage.

Chelsea have often opted to play without a striker in recent weeks, with Conte instead playing Hazard as a withdrawn attacker in central areas rather than in his preferred position on the left flank.

Though it has not always been an unqualified success - Hazard was particularly unimpressed with the approach in a dreary 1-0 defeat at Manchester City - the fluid front three provided plenty of problems for Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie.

Conte’s move was partly in response to the struggles of striker Alvaro Morata; not a problem that Martinez has to face with Belgian strikers Romelu Lukaku, Michy Batshuayi and Dries Mertens all having impressed for their clubs.

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"Eden Hazard is not a false nine for me," Martinez said at a press conference. "At Chelsea that can work with the likes of Pedro around him.

"I’m not going to use him at that position for Belgium. We have Romelu, Michy and Dries."

Martinez is blessed with so many options in his Belgium squad that he was able to leave out Crystal Palace target man Christian Benteke, who has 33 caps to his name on the international stage.

Benteke has struggled for form in recent months and has only one goal to his name since the start of 2018. However if he is able to get back among the goals as Palace look to stave off relegation, Martinez has suggested he will get the call for the World Cup.

"Benteke is still part of our group," Martinez said. "I just did not want to call up too many attackers.

"Christian now has to try to reach his best level at his club. He has a relegation battle that he needs to focus on."