Burnley fear Vincent Kompany could be the subject of an approach from Belgium as they weigh up potential replacements for Roberto Martinez.
The Belgian FA will now begin the process of drawing up a shortlist to replace Martinez after six years in charge. And Burnley are thought to harbour concerns that Kompany could come into Belgium’s thinking as part of any rebuilding plans.
Kompany, 36, was only appointed Burnley manager in June following the club’s relegation from the Premier League, but he has worked wonders in no time to lead a young, rebuilt side to the top of the Championship and dramatically overhaul their playing style in the process.
The former Manchester City captain spent three years in charge of Anderlecht, initially as player-manager, before leaving that post by mutual consent in May and pitching up at Turf Moor three weeks later.
It is unclear whether Kompany, at this early stage of his managerial career, would have any serious interest in turning his back on a club job for the international scene, particularly with Belgium given the complexities of a rebuilding job that would involve making tough decisions on the futures of the so-called “golden generation” of which he was part.
Indeed, Kompany may have reservations and remain keen to see through the job at Burnley where he is building a reputation for possession-based football after the route-one tactics of Sean Dyche.
Belgium’s time in Qatar was marred by squabbling and disharmony, triggered in part by Kevin De Bruyne’s claims in an interview that they had “no chance” of winning the World Cup because the squad was “too old”.
There were reports of Jan Vertonghen confronting De Bruyne and Eden Hazard, who had also made comments about the defence’s lack of pace, in the wake of a 2-0 defeat by Morocco and striker Romelu Lukaku being forced to intervene to prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
Belgium have an ageing squad and the World Cup was considered by many to be the golden generation’s last chance of winning a major tournament. Vertonghen and Dries Mertens are 35, Toby Alderweireld and Axel Witsel 33, De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Thomas Meunier 31, Thibaut Courtois 30 and Romelu Lukaku, Yannick Carrasco and Thorgan Hazard all 29.