Updated March 15th, 2024 at 09:46 IST

Man City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne left out by Belgium for friendlies because of groin injury

Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco stated that it would be safer to hold off on calling up Kevin De Bruyne for international action due to a groin issue.

Pep Guardiola, right, gives instructions to Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne during the English FA Cup third round soccer match between Manchester City and Huddersfield Town, at the Etihad stadium | Image: AP
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Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been left out of the Belgium squad for friendlies against Ireland and England so he's fit for Manchester City.

Belgium coach Domenico Tedesco said on Thursday that De Bruyne has a groin problem and that it was safer not to call him up for national duty. Tedesco is counting on a fully fit De Bruyne at the European Championship this summer.

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De Bruyne had hamstring surgery in mid-August after he was injured on the opening day of the English Premier League. He was out for nearly five months. Since he returned in January, City manager Pep Guardiola has managed De Bruyne's workload and didn't play him against Brentford on Feb. 20 because of what Guardiola described as “niggles” in his hamstring.

De Bruyne came off the bench five days later in a win at Bournemouth and has since started in three of City's last four games. The most recent was the 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, when he was substituted in the 69th minute and there was no mention of an injury.

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City plays Newcastle in the FA Cup on Saturday, then title rival Arsenal in the league on March 31 in its first game back after the international break.

“I don’t know if there is a relation between both injuries," Tedesco told a news conference on Thursday. “Now it's a groin injury that he has been suffering from in the last games. Yesterday we discussed it with the doctor, then I had a call with Kevin.”

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Tedesco said he could not take a chance with De Bruyne, adding the player would do his rehabilitation work with City.

“If the risk of an injury is too high, it's our responsibility to say it's better to protect him,” said Tedesco, who has signed a contract extension until 2026. “And then to have him ready for the Euros. We can't take risks at this moment with any player, especially not with Kevin.”

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As part of its preparations for Euro 2024, Belgium takes on Ireland on March 23 then England at Wembley Stadium three days later.

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Belgium

Goalkeepers: Arnaud Bodart (Standard Liege), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thomas Kaminski (Luton), Matz Sels (Nottingham Forest)

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Defenders: Timothy Castagne (Fulham), Koni De Winter (Genoa), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Wout Faes (Leicester), Orel Mangala (Lyon), Thomas Meunier (Trabzonspor), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht)

Midfielders: Olivier Deman (Werder Bremen), Amadou Onana (Everton), Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa), Arthur Vermeeren (Atletico Madrid), Aster Vranckx (Wolfsburg)

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Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Roma), Johan Bakayoko (PSV), Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahçe), Charles De Ketelaere (Atalanta), Jeremy Doku (Manchester City), Dodi Lukebakio (Sevilla), Lois Openda (Leipzig), Leandro Trossard (Arsenal)

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Published March 15th, 2024 at 09:46 IST