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Tedesco announces Belgium squad for final Euro qualifier amid injury concerns

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Belgium has injury concerns over defender Jan Vertonghen and midfielder Amadou Onana but recalled Leonardo Trossard ahead of its friendly with Serbia and Euro 2024 qualifier against Azerbaijan this month, coach Domenico Tedesco said on Friday.

He named 26 players rather than 24 for the two matches in Brussels to ensure cover for the recovering pair, who will likely miss Wednesday’s clash versus Serbia but be back for the qualifier against second-bottom Azerbaijan on November 19.

A win would ensure already-qualified Belgium finish top of Group F ahead of second-placed Austria, which it leads by a point, something Tedesco insisted he wanted to ensure.

“Jan Vertonghen is a question mark but his situation is improving day by day. We hope to have him during the week. Onana had a calf issue and even if he doesn’t get picked for his club (Everton) this weekend, he is ready to play,” Tedesco told a press conference.

Forward Trossard was injured for last month’s qualifiers with Austria and Sweden but returns along with defenders Alexis Saelemaekers and Zinho Vanheusden plus midfielder Aster Vranckx.

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Tedesco said Belgium were aware of the workload on winger Jeremy Doku, who has starred for Manchester City in recent weeks, and would take care not to load him with too much game time.

“We are looking at everything closely. They are taking good care of him at Manchester City. He is not playing all the games and we are happy with that,” the coach added.

“The priority is next week’s match against Azerbaijan. We would also like to win against Serbia, but that is incidental.”

Belgium Squad

Goalkeepers: Arnaud Bodart (Standard Liege), Koen Casteels (VfL Wolfsburg), Thomas Kaminski (Luton Town), Matz Sels (Racing Strasbourg)

Defenders: Ameen Al-Dakhil (Burnley), Timothy Castagne (Fulham), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Wout Faes (Leicester City), Alexis Saelemaekers (Bologna), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht), Zinho Vanheusden (Standard Liege)

Midfielder: Yannick Carrasco (Al Shabab), Olivier Deman (Werder Bremen), Orel Mangala (Nottingham Forest), Amadou Onana (Everton), Youri Tielemans (Aston Villa), Arthur Vermeeren (Royal Antwerp), Aster Vranckx (VfL Wolfsburg)

Forwards: Johan Bakayoko (PSV Eindhoven), Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahce), Jeremy Doku (Manchester City), Romelu Lukaku (AS Roma), Dodi Lukebakio (Sevilla), Lois Openda (RB Leipzig), Leonardo Trossard (Arsenal) 

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