Eden Hazard, who has made an impressive start to his Chelsea career with two goals and five assists in all competitions, is having a much harder time adjusting to life on the international stage. ESPNFC reports that Belgium coach Marc Wilmots is contemplating leaving the 21-year-old playmaker out of the starting lineup for Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier at home Scotland.
During Friday’s qualifier away to Serbia, with the Red Devils leading 1-0, Dries Mertens replaced Hazard after just 55 minutes. Mertens’ entry sparked an improved performance from the Belgians, who went on to win the crucial match, 3-0. After the game, Wilmots said: "Nacer Chadli and Eden Hazard had to switch positions because we were all over the place in the opening exchanges and very fortunate not to fall behind in the first seven minutes. Also, bringing on Dries Mertens for Hazard early in the second half injected fresh blood into the team."
Then, during a post-game press conference, Wilmots revealed why he first changed Hazard’s position and then withdrew him altogether: "I spoke to him after the game," Wilmots told Belgian media. "On Friday I had to move him away from the center and put him out on the flank to restore the balance in the center with Chadli, [Mousa] Dembele and [Axel] Witsel. Eden should know that, in soccer today, changing from defense to attack and from attack to defense are essential. But I support him. Step by step, we will get there."