Belgium leaves out players with more than 50 caps

Belgium has left out players with more than 50 caps for its friendlies against Ireland and Burkina Faso later this month, but added only one newcomer to its squad.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez.   -  Action Images via Reuters

Belgium has left out players with more than 50 caps for its friendlies against Ireland and Burkina Faso later this month, but added only one newcomer to its squad.

Coach Roberto Martinez on Friday named a 27-man squad for the friendlies in Dublin on March 26 and Brussels on March 29 with 23-year-old central defender Siebe Van der Heyden from surprise league leaders Union Saint Gilloise the only player not previously selected for the squad.

The decision to limit the selection means Toby Alderweireld, Yannick Carrasco, Thibaut Courtois, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Thomas Meunier, Jan Vertonghen and Axel Witsel all sit out.

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Martinez is using the two matches to prepare for the World Cup in Qatar where top-ranked Belgium are expected to be among the contenders.

Youri Tielemans is the most experienced player selected with 47 caps while Jeremy Doku returns despite on-going injury concerns and Adnan Januzaj is recalled after more than a year out of the squad.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg), Thomas Kaminski (Blackburn Rovers), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Racing Strasbourg)

Defenders: Sebastiaan Bornauw (VfL Wolfsburg), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Jason Denayer (Olympique Lyonnais), Wout Faes, Thomas Foket (both Stade Reims), Arthur Theate (Atalanta), Siebe Van der Heyden (Union Saint Gilloise)

Midfielders: Charles De Ketelaere (Club Brugge), Leander Dendocker (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Oriel Mangala (VfB Stuttgart), Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan), Albert Sambi Lokoga (Arsenal), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Besiktas), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Jeremy Doku (Stade Rennes), Divock Origi (Liverpool), Leandro Trossard (Brighton & Hove Albion), Dante Vanzeir (Union Saint Gilloise). 

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