Hazard must prove fitness before playing for Belgium
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Injury plagued Eden Hazard will have to play some football for Real Madrid in their next two games or will be left out of Belgium’s squad for their three internationals in October, coach Roberto Martinez said on Wednesday.
Hazard, 29, has yet to play this season as he has struggled with an ankle injury and faces a race to be fit for Real’s La Liga matches against Real Valladolid on Wednesday and at Levante on Sunday.
“If Eden gets onto the pitch at Real he will join us but if not, then he will stay and train individually in Madrid,” said Martinez as he named a 33-man squad for the trio of matches.
Belgium meet the Ivory Coast in Brussels on Oct. 8 in a friendly and then play England away on Oct. 11 and Iceland on Oct. 14 in the Nations League.
“We are working closely with Real,” added Martinez about Hazard’s recovery from a fracture suffered in February.
“If he is 100 percent fit he will be on the pitch for Real and if he is on the pitch he will come to the national team next week.”
Five players from the country’s under-21 team were included in the senior squad for the first time as the coach promised no player would feature in all of the three games.
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), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City), Jason Denayer (Olympique Lyonnais), Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Joris Kayembe (Charleroi), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Zinho Vanheusden (Standard Liege), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)
Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Nacer Chadli (Monaco), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), 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 (Anderlecht), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dodi Lukebakio (Hertha Berlin), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Divock Origi (Liverpool).
(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Christian Radnedge)
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