October 5, 2018 / 12:53 PM / a month ago

Martinez looks to freshen up Belgian squad

Soccer Football - The Best FIFA Football Awards - Royal Festival Hall, London, Britain - September 24, 2018 Belgium coach Roberto Martinez before the start of the awards Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium have handed Club Bruges defender Brandon Mecehel a first call-up and recalled three others as coach Roberto Martinez hopes to use this month’s internationals against Switzerland and the Netherlands to bring new players into the squad.

Mecehel was a surprise choice in the squad Martinez named on Friday when he also recalled Jason Denayer, Christian Kabasele and Dennis Praet.

Injuries to the Tottenham Hotspur pair of Moussa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen plus Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) and Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad) have allowed Martinez the opportunity for some experimentation, he said at a news conference.

Belgium, who are now top of the FIFA rankings despite finishing third at the World Cup in July, host Switzerland in Brussels on Friday, Oct. 12 in the Nations League and then the Dutch in a friendly on Oct. 16.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg), Thibault Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Matz Sels (Racing Strasbourg)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Jason Denayer (Olympique Lyonnais), Christian Kabasele (Watford), Vincent Kompany, Brandon Mechele (Club Bruges), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona)

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yinfang), Timothy Castagne (Atalanta), Nacer Chadli (Monaco), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Thomas Meunier (Paris St Germain), Dennis Praet (Sampdoria), Youri Tielemans (Monaco), Hans Vanaken (Club Bruges), Axel Witsel (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Valencia), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Leandro Trossard (Racing Genk).

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Keith Weir

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