Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has risked a showdown with Manchester City by stating his desire to select Vincent Kompany for the Euro 2016 qualifier against Israel.
Kompany, captain with his club and national team, has been sidelined since sustaining a calf injury during City’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to Juventus last month.
The 29-year-old will sit out his Saturday’s Premier League match against Newcastle United and was therefore a surprise inclusion in Belgium’s squad for the final two matches of their qualification campaign.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, City manager Manuel Pellegrini said Kompany “cannot” play for Belgium but that he was happy for him to join up with his team-mates under a watching brief for the games against Andorra next Saturday and Israel.
Wilmots feels the first game comes too soon but told reporters that there is a “big chance” of Kompany playing in the Israel match.
“I talked to Vincent on the phone,” Wilmots said. “His injury is not that serious, there is no burst. On Monday he starts to run again.
“He won’t play on Saturday against Andorra, but there’s a big chance that against Israel he will be fit to play.
“Anyway I wanted Vincent with us, he will follow his schedule with us. But we won’t take risks with him.”
The potential club-versus-country stand-off has echoes of when Kompany played for Belgium against Macedonia in March 2013 despite not having featured in two months for City – much to the displeasure of Pellegrini’s predecessor Roberto Mancini.