Belgian national team head coach Roberto Martinez is hopeful that Inter striker Romelu Lukaku can return to play from the start in the Red Devils’ World Cup group stage clash with Croatia tomorrow.

Speaking in a press conference, as reported by FCInterNews, the coach stressed how important the Nerazzurri striker is for Belgium to play at their best.

Lukaku has been restricted to just a short cameo for Belgium so far at the World Cup, coming on late in the team’s 2-0 loss to Morocco in their second group stage match.

The 29-year-old’s importance for his national team has never been a big secret, and the team looked to struggle in attack in their opener against Canada despite narrowly winning 1-0 in his absence, before failing to score in a damaging loss to Morocco.

It is still unclear whether or not Lukaku will be ready to face Croatia from the start tomorrow, but for Martinez’s part, he certainly hopes so.

“I don’t know,” the coach said when asked if the Inter striker will start, “but I hope so.”

“Playing for us, he makes all the difference in the world.”

“He’s a natural leader, he brings the attack forward and acts as a point of reference in forward areas,” Martinez added, “he’s a fundamental player for us.”