Liverpool strikers Christian Benteke and Divock Origi have both been named in Belgium's provisional squad to travel to France for this summer's European Championship finals. The forward pair are one of a number of Premier League players called-up by manager Marc Wilmots, with Tottenham trio Jan Verthongen, Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele also selected alongside goalkeepers Simon Mignolet and Thibaut Courtois, Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, Kevin de Bruyne of Manchester City, Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Everton striker Romelu Lukaku.
Benteke may have been sweating over his place after a difficult first season at Liverpool that has seen him score nine goals and make only 13 Premier League starts since a £32.5m ($46.9m) switch from Aston Villa in July 2015. Origi, meanwhile, was initially considered a possible doubt with an ankle injury sustained during last month's Merseyside derby thrashing of Everton.
Belgium have taken the slightly unusual decision of naming a 24-man squad and a standby list, meaning that one player will have to be cut before the final deadline on 31 May. Captain Vincent Kompany's absence was expected due to a groin injury suffered against Real Madrid and his place at centre-back will be filled by Manchester City teammate Jason Denayer, who is currently on loan at Galatasaray. Hazard has been chosen to lead the team in his absence.
"Vincent Kompany's absence is sad for him and for the team," Wilmots, who appears to have selected seven centre-backs and only four proper midfielders, said at a press conference that followed his announcement. "He's a leader. He will not be part of the staff."
Confirming his new choice of skipper, he added: "In Vincent Kompany's absence, Eden Hazard will be our captain."
There is further Premier League representation on that aforementioned standby list, where Tottenham's Nacer Chadli and Everton's Kevin Mirallas are among seven hopefuls still aiming to travel. Adnan Januzaj, who featured for Belgium at the 2014 World Cup after much speculation over his international allegiance, has not been chosen after a poor season in which he failed to shine during a loan stint at Borussia Dortmund and has since been an afterthought at Manchester United.
Belgium, placed in Group E with Italy, the Republic of Ireland and Sweden, are currently second in the Fifa world rankings after being leapfrogged by Argentina in April. They have never won a major tournament and recorded their best Euro finish in 1972, when they hosted the competition and finished third behind West Germany and the Soviet Union. They failed to qualify for any big event between 2002-14.