Lukaku in squad to face Wales amid Inter COVID outbreak

Lukaku in squad to face Wales amid Inter COVID outbreak

Romelu Lukaku has been named in the Belgium squad for the 2022 World Cup qualifier against Wales despite a coronavirus outbreak at his club Inter Milan, although boss Roberto Martinez admits the striker may not feature.

Inter’s Serie A clash with Sassuolo on Saturday has been postponed as Stefan de Vrij and Matias Vecino both tested positive after tests were taken on Wednesday.

The entire Inter squad are currently quarantined and prohibited from fulfilling any call-ups to their respective national teams ahead of being re-swabbed and tested again on Monday.

Belgium meet Wales in Leuven on Wednesday and boss Martinez admits their record goalscorer could be missing when World Cup qualification in Europe gets under way.

“It is possible (Lukaku will not play), he is in the middle of a group that is isolating,” Martinez said when announcing a 32-man squad for a World Cup qualifying triple-header against Wales, the Czech Republic and Belarus.

“Tests are scheduled ahead, but we don’t look any further than the next few days to see if Romelu can join us in the national team.

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“The (Italian) government and local authorities have got to give him the green light, but this is something we are used to and we will see how it develops.

“The fact is we’ve got three games in such a short period of time and hope that everything can turn in our favour.

“It would be wrong for us not to give every single possibility to Romelu for him to join us.”

Belgium, currently the No 1 team in the FIFA world rankings, are packed with Premier League talent.

Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne, Leicester trio Youri Tielemans, Dennis Praet and Timothy Castagne and Crystal Palace strikers Christian Benteke and Michy Batshuayi are among those included in the latest squad.

Eden Hazard is an absentee for Belgium with an ankle injury

Eden Hazard is an absentee for Belgium with an ankle injury

But Real Madrid’s former Chelsea forward Eden Hazard is missing with a persistent ankle problem which has already required two operations.

Martinez said: “He was ready to get back on the football pitch and did that in a La Liga game against Elche. He felt really well but then had the setback of another injury.

“It’s been lots of different niggles, but it comes from the same problem. Now is the moment to forget about deadlines and gives him what he needs.

“We all need to take that responsibility, between the Belgian Federation and the club where he is playing his football, because we are dealing with a player who has never been injured in his career.

“This is a real shock and something new, and there’s a lot of uncertainty around that.

“But in terms of the injury, I feel we can be very positive that we will see the best Eden Hazard well before the Euros.”

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