For tonight’s match with Ireland in Dublin, Roberto Martinez has excluded all those with over 50 caps. So no place for Kevin De Bruyne, Thibaut Courtois and a few more of the usual suspects. This doesn’t mean that Martinez will make sweeping changes for the forthcoming World Cup, but it will give him a chance to see some new-ish faces.
That’s new-ish, as he’s only selected one newcomer to the squad, Union St. Gilloise defender Siebe Van der Heyden. It will, though, be a chance to shine for players such as Adnan Januzaj, Divock Origi, Arthur Theate and Charles De Ketelaere.
Martinez has almost certainly got his 23 for the World Cup in mind, but there might be a place up for grabs following Thomas Vermaelen hanging up his boots to join Martinez’s coaching staff.
Leicester City’s Youri Tielemans, 24, will captain the team. A product of the Anderlecht academy, he’s no stranger to the captain’s armband at junior and senior levels. Tielemans is currently on 47 caps and Martinez has a lot of faith in the midfielder.
Possible team to face Ireland: Mignolet – Boyata, Theate, Denayer – Saelemaekers, Vanaken, Tielemans, T.Hazard – Januzaj, Origi, Trossard
Goalkeepers: Thomas Kaminski; Simon Mignolet, Davy Roef and Matz Sels. Defenders: Sebastiaan Bornauw, Dedryck Boyata, Jason Denayer, Wout Faes, Arthur Theate and Siebe Van der Heyden. Wing Backs: Thomas Foket; Thorgan Hazard and Alexis Saelemaekers. Midfielders:, Leander Dendoncker, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Orel Mangala, Youri Tielemans and Hans Vanaken. Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Charles De Ketelaere, Adnan Januzaj, Divock Origi, Leandro Trossard, Yari Verschaeren and Dante Vanzeir.