Belgium name nine Premier League players in squad for 2021 European Championship

Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is included along with Leicester trio Timothy Castagne, Dennis Praet and FA Cup final hero Youri Tielemans.

Belgium, the world’s top-ranked side, have been drawn in Group B along with Russia, Denmark and Finland.

Belgium have named nine Premier League players in their 26-man squad for this summer’s European Championship finals.

Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne is included along with Leicester trio Timothy Castagne, Dennis Praet and FA Cup final hero Youri Tielemans.

Roberto Martinez’s squad also includes Inter Milan forward Romelu Lukaku and Real Madrid’s Eden Hazard.

Belgium, the world’s top-ranked side, have been drawn in Group B along with Russia, Denmark and Finland.

The other England-based players in the squad are Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld, Brighton forward Leandro Trossard, Christian Benteke of Crystal Palace and Michy Batshuayi, who spent this season on loan with fellow striker Benteke at Selhurst Park from Chelsea.

There is also a place for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel, who had an operation on his Achilles tendon in January and resumed running just a few days ago.

“With a squad extended to 26 [from the usual 23, because of the impact of Covid-19], I can take this risk [on Witsel] – he’s a unique player,” said Martinez.

There is no place in the 26 for former Everton and Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who has not played for Belgium since the 2018 World Cup after which he left for China.

The squad, which also includes a stand-by list of 11 players, must be officially declared to Uefa by 1 June at the latest.

Belgium squad

Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Bruges), Matz Sels (Racing Strasbourg)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Timothy Castagne (Leicester City), Jason Denayer (Olympique Lyonnais), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)

Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (Istanbul Basaksehir), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Dennis Praet, Youri Tielemans (both Leicester City), Hans Vanaken (Club Bruges), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke (both Crystal Palace), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Jeremy Doku (Stade Rennes), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Inter Milan), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion)

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