BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium are confident Romelu Lukaku will be fit to play in their three internationals next week despite being sidelined by injury over the last week, coach Roberto Martinez said on Friday.
The Inter Milan striker suffered a muscle strain in the Champions League match against Shakhtar Donetsk on Oct. 27 and missed their weekend league game against Parma and Tuesday’s loss at Real Madrid.
“We are confident there is still time for him to continue his recovery before he meets up with us on Monday,” said Martinez as he named a 32-man squad for matches against Switzerland, England and Denmark. “We’ll assess him when he arrives.”
Eden Hazard returns after injury, as does his brother Thorgan, and the Japan-based defender Thomas Vermaelen, who could not travel back to Europe for internationals in September and October because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Eden has been really positive with his comeback. He has played three games already with Real Madrid and been very impressive, which is pleasing,” added Martinez at a news conference.
Charles De Ketelaere from Club Brugge was handed his first call-up. Timothy Castagne and Yannick Carrasco are both injured while Divock Origi has been dropped.
Belgium host Switzerland in a friendly on Wednesday, then host England and Denmark in the Nations League on Nov. 15 and Nov. 18 respectively. All games are being played behind closed doors in Leuven.
Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Hendrik Van Crombrugge (Anderlecht)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Sebastiaan Bornauw (FC Cologne), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Jason Denayer (Olympique Lyonnais), Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Joris Kayembe (Charleroi), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)
Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (Monaco), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Charles De Ketaelere (Club Brugge), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Cortmund), Dennis Praet (Leicester City), Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Leandro Trossard (Brighton & Hove Albion), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund)
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke (both Crystal Palace), Jeremy Doku (Lille), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dodi Lukebakio (Hertha Berlin), Dries Mertens (Napoli).
Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge
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