Updates from Wednesday, Sept. 3
Fears over Vincent Kompany have already been allayed after it was reported on Wednesday that he required a scan on a calf problem.
Belgium boss Marc Wilmots has already delivered a positive verdict on the Manchester City skipper, prior to Thursday's clash with Australia, per Manchester Evening News' David Lynch and Stuart Brennan:
Stuart Brennan @StuBrennanMEN
Belgium coach says he won't take "unnecessary risks" with Kompany tomorrow.9/3/2014, 1:24:55 PM
Manchester City suffered an injury scare on Wednesday, with the fitness of captain Vincent Kompany in doubt after he was taken to hospital for a calf scan.
The Belgian national team's official Twitter account confirmed Kompany is to be examined prior to their friendly fixture against Australia on Thursday evening:
No @vincentkompany at training today. He was taken to the hospital for a calf scan. We'll have to wait for the results. #belaus9/3/2014, 8:06:37 AM
Depending on the results of the scan, Kompany also looks likely to miss next Tuesday's Euro 2016 qualifier against Andorra, leaving Marc Wilmots with a decision of who will replace his defensive totem.
As captain of the side, it's no surprise that the centre-back was named by Wilmots as one of eight players sure to start against Australia, but his plans will now require altering:
Nicolas Lombaerts is the most obvious candidate to come in as a straight swap in central defence, but Wilmots could opt to experiment against the Socceroos and hand Jordan Lukaku his international debut.
Older sibling and Everton striker Romelu is out of the fixture through injury, but if Jan Vertonghen comes into the middle, the younger Lukaku could line up at left-back. The two brothers shared their mixed emotions over Twitter:
R.Lukaku Bolingoli10 @RomeluLukaku9
The best news of my whole life... My brother is called up for the @BelRedDevils pff the dream is getting closer 😭😃🙏 . Congrats @J_Lukaku948/31/2014, 8:44:06 PM
jordan lukaku @J_Lukaku94
Blij met deze selectie !! Too bad we'll not be able to share this experience @RomeluLukaku9 (je t'aurai travailler a l'entraînement 😜)8/31/2014, 8:14:43 PM
Manuel Pellegrini will also consider the news a blow to his title hopes, with Manchester City hoping to bounce back from their latest result, a 1-0 defeat at home to Stoke City.
Any Kompany absence would put an even greater importance on the introduction of Eliaquim Mangala, who this summer became the Premier League's most expensive defender following his £32 million switch from Porto.
The French international grew up in Belgium and would look to establish a stellar centre-back pairing alongside Kompany at the Etihad Stadium, but that pursuit may now be put on hold.
Pellegrini will at least hope the international break is enough time for his leader to recover from the calf problem, with back-to-back fixtures against Arsenal and Chelsea awaiting him upon return.
In the meantime, City will now be pleased they kept hold of Matija Nastasic this summer. The Serbian has been linked with an Etihad exit, per The Guardian's Jamie Jackson, but is now likely to offer useful cover while Kompany goes about making his return.
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