Belgium boss Roberto Martinez says Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Vermaelen will have a chance to prove their fitness before he confirms his World Cup squad
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez says he will give Romelu Lukaku and Thomas Vermaelen every chance to prove their fitness ahead of the World Cup.
Manchester United striker Lukaku and Barcelona defender Vermaelen were both named in Martinez’s initial 28-man squad for the World Cup despite both carrying injuries at the end of the season.
The Belgium boss says he will give all 28 players a chance to prove their fitness in friendlies before he announces the final 23-man list on June 4.
Asked about Lukaku and Vermaelen, Martinez said: “We have to use the rules to our advantage. We are going to be preparing for Portugal, the European champions, and then on June 4 we will announce the final list of 23 players.
“This week we will work with every player individually to give them the best possible chance to be involved in the 23-man squad. Then as a group we will start the preparation we need to do with the group going to Russia.
“The idea was always to try to reduce the group to 23 from day one, but now that has changed because of the needs of certain players to give them an extra period of time to prove their fitness.
“At the moment we are open-minded with the 28 players, we will work in the same manner with everyone and then make the decision just after the Portugal game.
“I think that is the best way to do it from out point of view in the circumstances we have.”
Belgium begin their campaign in Russia with a game against Panama on June 18, before facing Tunisia on June 23 and England on June 28.