The No 1 team of the world according to FIFA rankings, Belgium, has announced a 24-man squad ahead of the Euro 2016 in France this year, scheduled for a June 10 start. As many as 11 Premier League players have made the cut.
The notable absentee from the list, however, is Manchester City key defender Vincent Kompany. The 30-year-old ruptured his thigh muscle during his club's Champions League semi-final game against Real Madrid earlier this month, and will be in the sidelines for around five months.
Liverpool have the highest representation among the Premier League clubs, with goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and forwards Christian Benteke and Divock Origi featuring in the 24-man list. There are also seven players named on stand-by. The squad will be cut down to just 23 players by May 31, the deadline designated by UEFA for the countries to submit their 23-member squads.
Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has said Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard will don the skipper's armband in the absence of influential defender Kompany during the Euro 2016 in France.
"Vincent Kompany's absence is sad for him and for the team. He's a leader," said Wilmots via his team's Twitter feed. "He will not be part of the staff. In Kompany's absence, Eden Hazard will be our captain."
Wilmots also revealed that Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld will be filling in for Kompany at the heart of the defence, while Manchester City hotshot Kevin De Bruyne will be deployed up front.
"I think it's essential to have three attackers," Wilmots was quoted as saying by the Associated Press. "Kevin is the perfect man to hold up the ball."
Belgium: 24-man squad
Goalkeepers: Thibault Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Jean-Francois Gillet (Mechelen)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Jason Denayer (Galatasaray), Bjorn Engels (Club Brugge), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St. Petersburg), Jordan Lukaku (Oostende), Thomas Meunier (Club Brugge), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).
Midfielders: Moussa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Zenit St. Petersburg), Radja Naingollan (Roma).
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Marseille), Christian Benteke (Liverpool), Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Divock Origi (Liverpool).
Standby: Matz Sels (Gent), Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Laurens De Bock (Club Brugge), Guillaume Gillet (FC Nantes), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Monchengladbach), Kevin Mirallas (Everton).