Four new faces in Belgium squad as Sels, Benteke return

Belgium has called up 21 of its World Cup stars, with four new faces and Matz Sels and Christian Benteke in Roberto Martinez's group.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez   -  Getty Images

Roberto Martinez has introduced four new players to Belgium's squad for the start of the UEFA Nations League as it looks to build on its third-placed finish at the World Cup.

Atalanta's Timothy Castagne, Club Brugge's Hans Vanaken, Gent midfielder Birger Verstraete and Genk forward Leandro Trossard, the latter two having represented Belgium at youth level, have been handed senior call-ups.

There are also recalls for Strasbourg goalkeeper Matz Sels and Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke, who both missed out on places in the final World Cup squad.

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Of the 23 members of the group present in Russia, only Kevin De Bruyne and Adnan Januzaj are absent due to injury.

Martinez said of the new faces: "Vanaken is consistently performing with Brugge and deserves his place in the squad. Trossard is also very consistent and represents the good times that Genk are having."

"Timothy Castagne can play on the left, the right or in central defence. He has done very well with our under-21 team."

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"Whenever we watched Verstraete, he always caught our attention. He is doing really well and we need that type of player."

The squad will continue to work with assistant Thierry Henry, who has been linked to both Aston Villa and Bordeaux in recent months, while Shaun Maloney also joins the coaching staff following Graeme Jones' departure for West Brom.

Belgium faces Scotland in a friendly on September 7, before travelling to Iceland in the Nations League four days later.

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Belgium squad in full:

Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Matz Sels (Strasbourg); Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham); Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Timothy Castagne (Atalanta), Nacer Chadli (Monaco), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Youri Tielemans (Bayern Munich), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Birger Verstraete (Gent), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund); Michy Batshuayi (Valencia), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Genk).

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