World Cup 2018: Radja Nainggolan left out of Belgium squad
Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan has been left out of Belgium’s World Cup squad for this summer’s tournament.
The 30-year-old helped Roma reach the Champions League semi-finals but has not made manager Roberto Martinez’s initial 28-man squad for Russia 2018.
Belgium are in England’s group and have 15 Premier League players on the provisional list, which will be trimmed down to 23 on 4 June.
“Radja Nainggolan is a top player. The reason is tactical,” said Martinez.
“In the past two years, the team has worked in a specific manner. Other players had those roles.
“We know Radja has a very important role in his club and we cannot give him that role in our squad.”
Among the England-based players are Manchester City duo Kevin de Bruyne and Vincent Kompany, Chelsea forward Eden Hazard and Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku.
There had been doubts over a place for Crystal Palace striker Christian Benteke but he has made the initial squad, along with Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi.
Batshuayi went on loan to German side Borussia Dortmund in January but suffered an ankle ligament injury in April.
Liverpool forward Divock Origi – who spent the season on loan at Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga – and Everton winger Kevin Mirallas, who joined Greek side Olympiakos on loan in January, both miss out.
“Every player in the squad has got a different level of fatigue. That is why we will start the preparation with 28 players,” added Martinez.
Belgium’s initial 28-man squad for the World Cup:
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Matz Sels, Koen Casteels
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Leander Dendoncker, Laurent Ciman, Christian Kabasele, Vincent Kompany, Jordan Lukaku, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen
Midfielders: Yannick Carrasco, Kevin De Bruyne, Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Dries Mertens, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel
Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku