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Kevin De Bruyne fit for Euro 2020 but likely to sit out first Belgium game


Kevin De Bruyne will be fit to participate in Belgium’s Euro 2020 campaign but is unlikely to be risked in their opener against Russia on Saturday, according to Roberto Martínez.

Belgium were relieved to welcome De Bruyne to their training camp on Monday after the Manchester City midfielder underwent successful surgery to the left eye socket he fractured in a challenge with Antonio Rüdiger during the Champions League final. There had been concerns over his availability but they were allayed by Martínez, who hopes De Bruyne will be training by the end of the week.

“Very well,” Martínez said when asked how De Bruyne had recovered. “I think the medical intervention went extremely well. It’s still a very fresh one so it’ll take a few days, but the initial reaction has been really positive and he seems ready. It’s looking more forwards than backwards at this point.

“He’s joined the medical department for the next few days and then, whenever we get the green light, he’s going to be integrated into the sporting side. I would say at the moment I’m not counting on Kevin to be in the first game but if that changes it will be because he adapts well to his own programme. But we’re not going to push any sort of timeline into Kevin’s recovery. [He] is here, is mentally really enthusiastic and excited, and we need to take every 24 hours in real focus.”

Martínez did not rule out leaving De Bruyne in Tubize, the location of Belgium’s training base just outside Brussels, rather than bringing him to St Petersburg for the Russia game. That is the probable state of affairs, especially given the tournament’s early stage, and he is more likely to be eased back when they face Denmark in Copenhagen on 17 June.

De Bruyne is not expected to require a protective mask. “The medical department are looking at all possible cases and it seems the structure of his face is really strong and he doesn’t need that sort of protection,” Martínez said. “But they will be ready to have a mask just in case.”

Eden Hazard’s fitness has been another headache for Martínez and the Real Madrid forward was only given eight minutes off the bench, his first for Belgium since November 2019, in Sunday’s friendly win over Croatia. “It’ll be difficult to tell when he will be ready,” Martínez said on the prospect of Hazard completing 90 minutes, suggesting that he will begin Euro 2020 as a potential impact substitute.



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