Belgium manager Roberto Martinez has told the Belgian media he hasn’t selected Sunderland defender Jason Denayer because he didn’t think he could travel to the country in time. With the latest injury to Vincent Kompany, Martinez has instead brought in inexperienced Anderlecht defensive midfielder Leander Dendoncker.
Stadion.be have reported on comments Martinez made in his press conference today when quizzed about selecting Dendoncker over Denayer and Nicolas Lombaerts. Denayer is currently on loan with Sunderland from Manchester City, but Martinez said he didn’t think the player could get to Belgium in time to join up with the squad.
Martinez’s comments seem strange given his team only play Estonia on Sunday night and the player is now based in England again after a spell in Turkey last season. The Spaniard also explained Lombaerts wasn’t drafted in because he feels he’s not fully fit.
“Lombaerts is fitness is insufficient and Denayer isn’t in Belgium. Therefore, the choice is Dendoncker,” said the Belgium coach.
Denayer would have been seen by many as preferred choice to replace Kompany given he’s more experience at international level, and that Dendoncker is a defensive midfielder. The Manchester City loanee was also part of Belgium’s Euros squad in the summer, and played in the quarterfinal clash with Wales.