Forward Romelu Lukaku is set to miss the UEFA Nations League games for Belgium citing an injury as coach Roberto Martinez named a 30-man squad on Friday. The Belgian all-time record goalscorer is on a loan at Inter Milan from Chelsea and has been out of action since August due to a muscle problem.
Belgium will be playing Wales in Brussels on 22 September and then will face the Netherlands in Amsterdam three days later in their final international fixture before the World Cup in Qatar. The Belgians are behind the Dutch by three points in Group A4 heading into their last two matches.
Addressing Lukaku’s exclusion, Roberto Martinez talked about how the striker is recovering well from his injury and hence the team doesn’t want to risk his World Cup chances because of the extra load. “Romelu is developing and his recovery is progressing well,” Martinez said at a press conference.
“Probably, he will return to training with Inter within a week. We took a cautious decision. It is better not to take any risk because a relapse ahead of the World Cup would be very tricky.” Romelu Lukaku returned to Inter on loan from Chelsea in the summer. The London-based club has not included an option to make the move permanent and paid €8m for his temporary return to the Stadio Meazza.
Belgium Nations League squad:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid/ESP), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg/GER), Matz Sels (Strasbourg/FRA)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Antwerp), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht), Arthur Theate (Rennes/FRA), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City/ENG), Dedryck Boyata (Club Brugge), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Jason Denayer (free agent), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Wout Faes (Leicester City/ENG)
Midfielders: Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City/ENG), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/ENG), Amadou Onana (Everton/ENG), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan/ITA), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund/GER), Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa/ENG)
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce/TUR), Lois Openda (Lens/FRA), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid/ESP), Leandro Trossard (Brighton/ENG), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Charles De Ketelaere (AC Milan/ITA), Dries Mertens (Galatasaray/TUR), Dodi Lukebakio (Hertha Berlin/GER).