Batshuayi out for Belgium as Martinez prepares to experiment

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Michy Batshuayi

London, November 10: Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi has been withdrawn from Belgium duty due to a foot injury.

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez told a news conference ahead of Friday's friendly against Mexico that Batshuayi was suffering with the problem when he joined up with his international colleagues earlier this week.

Batshuayi has seven goals in all competitions for Chelsea this season, despite continuing to struggle for regular starting opportunities under Antonio Conte, but he will be unable to add to his haul for the Red Devils, who also take on Japan next week.

"When Michy arrived, he was in pain so he is out of the two matches," said Martinez.

"He didn't train since the beginning of our get together. He has left for Chelsea."

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen will also miss the Mexico game as he nurses an ankle complaint.

Belgium have a richly gifted generation of talent arguably entering their collective prime ahead of Russia 2018 and Martinez pledged to use the forthcoming games to hone his plans for many people's tournament dark horses.

"We're going to try different things during these two friendlies," he said.

"This is to see how the players react in the system when we try something else.

"These are good matches. Mexico has qualities to keep possession of the ball.

"They have talented players and a different style of game to the European nations."

Former Everton manager Martinez added: "This Belgian generation has a lot of talent and our goal is to take advantage of that.

"The important thing in these two games is that everyone knows what he must do. If you win by playing badly you're not getting a lot of information."

Source: OPTA

Story first published: Friday, November 10, 2017, 11:32 [IST]
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