Belgium manager Domenico Tedesco has left Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne out of his squad to face Republic of Ireland and England later this month.

After announcing the squad, the German has been speaking to reporters and Het Laatste Nieuws have relayed his comments.

Tedesco has revealed he had a chat with the Manchester City star and the medical team on Wednesday, after which a decision was made to not include De Bruyne in the squad for the two friendlies. The national team manager claims “we have to protect him”.

“I don’t know if there is a connection with his hamstring injury. It’s now a problem at the groin that he has been struggling with in the last matches. Yesterday I spoke to the doctor and Kevin and we decided that the risk is too high,” he said.

“It’s our responsibility to consider the player, but also the player’s team. It has to make sense to call up a player. If he cannot play or train, it is our responsibility to protect him. We better give him time to recover well at City and then have him ready for the Euros. We can’t take a risk now, and certainly not with Kevin.”

HLN journalist Kristof Terreur took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to state the 32-year-old is struggling with a minor groin injury. Last August, the attacking midfielder suffered a serious hamstring injury, forcing him to spend over four months on the sidelines.

Pep Guardiola recently stated the Belgium international is not 100% fit after leaving him on the bench in Manchester City’s league win over Brentford in February.

The Citizens will host Newcastle United in the FA Cup on Saturday and the latest setback is likely to force De Bruyne to miss this tie.

De Bruyne has managed two goals and 13 assists from 14 games this season.