Wilmots outlines ambitions with 24-man squad for Euros

In football, national team coach Marc Wilmots announced 24 names for next month's European Championships in France. Only one player (a defender) will have to leave this preliminary 24-man squad, which includes 12 players who are active in the English or Scottish league. Key roles will be for in-form Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, who will act as playmaker.

Wilmots is planning to attack in France, where Belgium's Red Devils will meet Sweden, Italy and Ireland in the group stage. No fewer than 8 forwards or strikers have been called to the squad.

"Eden Hazard is the skipper but we have many leaders in the team", Wilmots told a news conference in Brussels. Kevin De Bruyne of Manchester City will act as playmaker. "He can take on the role as number 10. He has the qualities for it."

As Nicolas Lombaerts and Thomas Vermaelen are nursing injuries, Wilmots named one defender more than planned. The squad has to be reduced to 23 players by the end of the month.

Wilmots also countered rumours that injured captain Vincent Kompany will travel to France together with the squad to work behind the scenes. "I don't see a role for him, except for maybe a visit at our hotel", Wilmots smiled.

Belgium will be based in Bordeaux for the group phase. Before travelling to France, they are meeting Switzerland (28 May), Finland (1 June) and Norway (5 June) in friendlies.

11 players active in England

  • Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Jean-Francois Gillett (Mechelen), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool)
  • Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham Hotspur), Dedryck Boyata (Celtic), Jason Denayer (Galatasaray), Björn Engels (Club Bruges), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St. Petersburg), Jordan Lukaku (KV Oostende), Thomas Meunier (Club Bruges), Thomas Vermaelen (Barcelona), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)
  • Midfielders: Moussa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Radja Nainggolan (AS Roma), Axel Witsel (Zenit St. Petersburg)
  • Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Olympique Marseille), Christian Benteke (Liverpool), Yannick Carrasco-Ferreira (Atletico Madrid), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Divock Origi (Liverpool)