Without a club, Denayer gets place in Belgium squad

Updated Sep. 16, 2022 9:04 a.m. ET

BRUSSELS (AP) — Roberto Martinez is not turning his back on Jason Denayer.

The Belgium coach called up the center back on Friday for upcoming Nations League matches against Wales and the Netherlands despite his lack of playing time.

Denayer has been without a club since he left Lyon this summer.

“Jason will be working with the squad all week, but he won’t be involved in the two games,” Martinez said.


Martinez said it was important to show support to the player, who has made 35 appearances for Belgium, and to make sure he could be physically fit ahead of the World Cup later this year.

Lagging three points behind the Netherlands in its group, Belgium plays Wales on Sept. 22 and the Netherlands three days later in Amsterdam. The group also includes Poland.

Belgium will be without striker Romelu Lukaku, who remains sidelined with a thigh injury. In his absence, in-form Lens forward Loïs Openda will be given another chance to shine up front following his successful debut in June.

Martinez included uncapped defender Zeno Debast in his 30-man list. The 18-year-old Debast has been rewarded for his consistent start to the season on the right side of the Anderlecht back line in the Belgium league.



Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge). Matz Sels (Strasbourg), Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Royal Antwerp), Dedryck Boyata (Club Brugge), Zeno Debast (Anderlecht), Jason Denayer, Wout Faes (Leicester), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Arthur Theate (Rennes), Jan Vertonghen (Anderlecht), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Thomas Meunier (Borussia Dortmund)

Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco (Atletico Madrid), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Aston Villa), Amadou Onana (Everton), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Atletico Madrid)

Strikers: Michy Batshuayi (Fenerbahçe), Charles De Ketelaere (AC Milan), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Dodi Lukebakio (Hertha Berlin), Dries Mertens (Galatasaray), Loïs Openda (Lens), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)


More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports