Sunday 23 September 2018

Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku are injury doubts for crucial England showdown

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku receives medical attention REUTERS/Carl Recine
Belgium's Romelu Lukaku receives medical attention REUTERS/Carl Recine
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez has revealed Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku picked up injuries in his side's 5-2 World Cup finals win against Tunisia, as he hinted they are now doubts to play against England on Thursday.

Chelsea star Hazard and Manchester United striker Lukaku scored twice in Belgium's impressive victory in Moscow, but Martinez offered up a broad hint that he will look to shake up his side against England on Thursday after qualification for the knock-out phase of the competition was secured.

"The answer is very clear; if we could have seven days to prepare for the England game and then seven days ahead of the next game, then I would carry on with the same starting eleven," Martinez told reporters.

"It is important in international football for players to play together and develop an understanding, synchronisation and anticipating the movement of team-mates, which can be missed in international football.

"The reality now is that we have qualified for the next round and there will be opportunities for other players, who deserve minutes and we also have to assess the injuries we have picked up in this game.

"Romelu Lukaku picked up an ankle injury, Eden Hazard picked up a calf injury and Dries Mertens has a little knock on his ankle. We will assess them and there will be major, major changes against England."

Martinez expanded on the injury to Lukaku, as he hinited the striker tried to run off the problem in the second half before he was substituted after 59 minutes.

"Lukaku has an external ankle ligament problem on his left foot," confirmed Martinez. "He got it at the end of the first half and did well to play as long as he did. He will be assessed in the next 48 hours."

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