Martinez willing to unleash Lukaku and Benteke for Belgium


Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez is open to the prospect of starting Romelu Lukaku alongside Christian Benteke in this month's World Cup qualifiers.

The world's second-ranked side, who began their Group H campaign with a 3-0 win over Cyprus, take on Bosnia-Herzegovina on October 7 before a trip to face Gibraltar three days later.

Everton star Lukaku scored twice in that opening victory and has scored five goals in six Premier League games in a strong start to the season, while Benteke has scored in three of his last four league appearances for Crystal Palace.

And Martinez admits he is tempted to unleash both strikers, especially given the recent form of Benteke, who has begun to impress in London since he moved from Liverpool for a reported initial fee of £27million.

"Balance in the team is important, but playing with two up front is a possibility," he said when asked if the two could form a partnership.

"Benteke is getting better and better after a difficult preparation for the season. He is a completely different player compared to the last international break.

"We've been working on some concepts that I already know how to play. If we play with three defenders, the communication between players will be especially important. 

"I look at how the players themselves have interacted to decide what system to play. Intensity and speed are the most important things for me."

Martinez confirmed that Mousa Dembele, who missed Tottenham's 2-0 win over Manchester City, will be forced to miss both matches due to an ankle injury, though Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan should be fit to face Gibraltar.

"Mousa won't play, he is out for both games. He has an ankle problem," said Martinez. "Radja didn't train, either, but I'm not too worried about his injury. The game against Gibraltar should be feasible for him.

"Normally, you have to assume that a lot of players fall injured in November."