Marc Wilmots has named the first squad of his tenure as the permanent boss of the Belgian national team ahead of next Wednesday’s glamour friendly against neighbours Nederland in Brussels.
Captain Vincent Kompany has been included although the Manchester City star is not yet 100% fit and there is a question mark against his participation. Sébastien Pocognoli is retained as a specialist left-back having been a late call-up against England while those disappointed include Maarten Martens, Radja Nainggolan and Jelle Vossen.
Wilmots, who was a popular choice to succeed Georges Leekens, pointed out that there is no rigid distinction between the midfield and attacking players, in the sense that the likes of Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens could fall into both. He also endorsed Kevin De Bruyne’s loan move from Chelsea to Werder Bremen, a club where there is not quite the incessant pressure to get results present at Bayern or indeed his parent club. Hazard will not have a fixed role in the side, with Wilmots pointing out he played on the left, right, centre and in a free role for Lille. The new Chelsea man will be used wherever he can do the most damage against any particular opponent.
Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), J-F Gillet (Torino), Steve Mignolet (Sunderland)
Guillaume Gillet (Anderlecht), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liège), Toby Alderweireld (Ajax),
Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Daniel van Buyten (Bayern München), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Sébastien Pocognoli (Standard Liège)
Moussa Dembélé (Fulham), Steven Defour (FC Porto),
Marouane Fellaini (Everton), Timmy Simons (Nürnberg), Axel Witsel (Benfica)
Nacer Chadli (FC Twente), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen), Benji De Ceulaer (Lokeren), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Dries Mertens (PSV), Kevin Mirallas (Olympiacos)
Christian Benteke (Racing Genk), Igor De Camargo (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea)