Belgium boss Martinez counting on experience to down England

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After spending 21 years in Britain, the former Everton manager plans to use his knowledge to see off the Three Lions at the World Cup

Roberto Martinez is counting on his knowledge of English football as he attempts to mastermind a Belgium victory over the Three Lions in the group stages of the World Cup.

Belgium boss Martinez spent 21 years in Britain as a player and manager, last coaching Everton for a three-year spell between 2013 and 2016.

The football fates drew up an intriguing sub-plot for the 44-year-old in Friday's draw in Moscow, with Belgium drawn in Group G alongside England, Panama and Tunisia.

And Martinez reflected on a "special draw".

"As they say, football is a way of living and I lived almost 21 years in the British game and in England," he told BBC Sport.

"It's a very special draw. It's the World Cup and it's about preparation now with a challenging draw.

"I think it is the most demanding group in terms of the travelling arrangements."

Belgium's current crop have been dubbed the Red Devils' "Golden Generation", with the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld and Thibaut Courtois among their ranks.

Plenty of Martinez's pool ply their trade in the Premier League and he hopes that experience can prove crucial.

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"It's fair to say that we've got a real competitive squad. Our players are in a very good moment in their careers," he added.

"Twenty-five Belgium players are now in the British game so they are very well known – players with important roles in important teams.

"They enjoy coming together for the national team and are great ambassadors for Belgian football."

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