Roberto Martinez has described our centre back stalwart Jan Vertonghen as “essential” to his national side with our big defender closing in on Belgium’s all-time appearance record.
Vertonghen has pulled on the Belgian shirt no less than 95 times for his country, which leaves him just one short of former Club Brugge attacking midfielder Jan Ceulemans’ record of 96.
The Tottenham Hotspur defender in all likelihood will surely break the record during the current international break, as he is part of former Everton and Wigan manager Martinez’s squad that take on Bosnia and Herzegovina and Cyprus in their final World Cup Qualifiers in the coming days.
Martinez said: “There’s been a lot of talk about this golden generation, but it’s important we can have leadership and personality creating a team.
“I think that’s where Jan is essential. He’s a leader, he’s a really experienced head and that’s important. We’ve got a few of those and they’re going to guide the younger talent.
“To get 95 caps at this stage of his career is a sensational achievement. That just shows you the professionalism that he has.”
Ceulemans’ record has stood since 1991. A 20 year-old Jan made his international debut in a 2-1 loss to Portugal in 2007.
Belgium were one of the first teams to qualify for next summer’s World Cup despite two matches remaining.
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