Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku at centre of club vs country row as Belgium consider defying Jose Mourinho's wishes

Belgium have already qualified for World Cup and face dead rubber against Cyprus on Tuesday night, just four days before United face arch-rivals Liverpool in the Premier League

Evan Bartlett
Tuesday 10 October 2017 10:15 BST
Manchester United play Liverpool in Saturday's early kick-off
Manchester United play Liverpool in Saturday's early kick-off (AFP/Getty Images)

Romelu Lukaku is at the heart of a brewing club vs country row as Belgium are reportedly considering defying Jose Mourinho's wishes and playing the striker against Cyprus.

Belgium have already qualified for next summer's World Cup as winners of Group H and Tuesday night's game in Brussels is effectively a dead rubber.

United face rivals Liverpool on Saturday and Mourinho is understandably said to be keen for his star striker to be given a rest ahead of such a crucial Premier League match, but Belgium manager Roberto Martinez said he has not spoken to his Old Trafford counterpart about the issue, insisting simply that Lukaku is "fit and available".

“Romelu is fit and available, he's training with us tonight,' Martinez said on Monday.

“And, no, I have not received a call from Mourinho. The reason he wasn't in the squad in the previous game was because he wasn't 100 per cent.

“Now he is 100 per cent but we need to take into consideration that he has been with the group for only one session.

"He's been working on an individual basis, really good work, but we need to keep that in mind.”

Lukaku missed Belgium’s 4-3 win over Bosnia at the weekend with a knock to his ankle and Mourinho will be hoping he does not aggravate the injury; particularly given teammate Marouane Fellaini will miss the clash with Liverpool having sustained ligament damage in the same game.

“He needs a further test with his club, but the swelling has to disappear completely to know for sure,” Martinez explained.

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