BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium captain Vincent Kompany has pulled out of the friendlies against Italy and Spain because of a slight calf injury hours after midfielder Mousa Dembele was declared unfit on Thursday.
Kompany had sparked a club versus country tussle last month when he played in Belgium’s last Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel to the annoyance of his Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini, who claimed he was injured.
But Belgium coach Marc Wilmots sounded a more conciliatory note after Thursday’s training when he declared Kompany unfit.
“He has a small strain from his last match with Manchester City (against Aston Villa) and we don’t want to take any risks, certainly not in friendly matches,” he told reporters.
Dembele was ruled out of Friday’s match against Italy in Brussels with a bruised calf which he picked up playing for his club Tottenham Hotspur against Arsenal at the weekend but could be fit to face Spain in the Belgian capital on Tuesday.
Anderlecht’s Steven Defour has been called up as cover.
(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Ken Ferris)