Lukaku won't go to World Cup with Belgium unless he's fit for group stage - Martinez

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Romelu Lukaku 2022-23
Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has warned striker Romelu Lukaku will only go to the World Cup if he can play at least one group game.
  • Lukaku in race to be fit
  • Martinez set to announce squad
  • Has warning for striker

WHAT HAPPENED? Lukaku is a doubt for the 2022 World Cup was only just back from a hamstring injury that has kept him sidelined since August when he suffered a muscle issue at the end of October. Martinez has admitted that he will now have to prove his fitness to make it into his squad.

WHAT THEY SAID: "The decision will be made just before we announce the list. It will relate to the three first-round matches. If he is fit to participate in one of those, he is a player we want in our team. If he cannot, he will not be selected," he told L'Equipe. "We are seeing signs of improvement, but we will wait until just before the announcement to give us more time. We have to assess the improvement to help estimate the timeline for his recovery. If he's fit by Dec. 1, he'll be with us."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Martinez will announce his squad on Thursday and will be hoping to have the Inter striker available. Lukaku is Belgium's all-time leading goalscorer with 68 goals, although the Red Devils do have some exciting young talent around, with the likes of Charles De Ketelaere, Yari Verschaeren and Jeremy Doku all hoping for a World Cup call-up.

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Romelu Lukaku

Lukaku Inter Viktoria Plzen 2022-23

Roberto Martinez

WHAT NEXT FOR BELGIUM? The team open their World Cup campaign on November 15 against Iraq.