Belgium coach Roberto Martinez on Monday announced a list of 26 players that will represent the country at the European Championships starting next month.
Stalwarts like Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and Axel Witsel have been named in the squad whereas players like Jeremy Doku and Leandro Trossard, who have impressed with their performances this season, have earned a call up as well.
In addition to that, Martinez also named a group of 11 players who can step up in case there are some unforeseen injuries or availability issues going into the tournament.
“There are still some games to be played at domestic level, in terms of possible injuries and possible changes, especially in these uncertain times. We have got 11 players that will be serving us as stand-by players,” Martinez said.
UEFA has allowed the teams to name 26-member squads instead of the usual limitation of 23 players in order to help them cope with the pandemic situation. All of the teams are supposed to submit the final team by June 1.
An 18-year-old Doku has been included in the squad after an impressive season with Ligue 1 team Rennes. His pace and dribbling skills can make him an excellent asset for a late sub role.
Trossard has had an impressive season with Premier League outfit Brighton as well. He has shone with his vision and eye for goals, something which can be associated with an out-of-form Hazard. If the Real Madrid striker continues to struggle with his form, Trossard is someone Martinez can rely on.
While the selection of Hazard, De Bruyne and Lukaku is a no-brainer, Witsel’s position in the squad is still uncertain as he is yet to recover fully from an Achilles injury he picked up in January. But he is expected to be fit before the start of the competition and that’s why Martinez has picked him.
Belgium have been placed in Group B along with Russia, Denmark, and Finland. They will open their campaign against Russia on June 12.
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg)
Defenders: Jan Vertonghen (Benfica), Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Jason Denayer (Lyon)
Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Dennis Praet (Leicester), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Nacer Chadli (Istanbul Basaksehir)
Forwards: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Michy Batshuayi (Crystal Palace), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Jeremy Doku (Rennes), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)