Lukaku fit to face England as Belgium seek improvement

Romelu Lukaku of AS Roma celebrates scoring his team's first goal during the UEFA Europa League 2023/24 Knockout Round Play-offs First Leg match between Feyenoord and AS Roma at Feyenoord Stadium on February 15, 2024 in Rotterdam, Netherlands. 

Belgium's record scorer Romelu Lukaku will be fit to face England in a friendly at Wembley today and adds considerable firepower to an attack that looked devoid of ideas in the disappointing 0-0 draw with Ireland last weekend.

Lukaku sat out the match in Dublin with a groin injury but is back in full training, according to manager Domenico Tedesco.

“Lukaku is ready to start,” the coach told reporters yesterday, before confirming that goalkeeper Koen Casteels remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Lukaku's 83 goals from 113 caps is 50 more than the next highest on the list, Eden Hazard, and that know-how is needed in the absence of the midfield finesse of injured Kevin De Bruyne.

“We want to create more opportunities than against Ireland. We need to be brave, with open and positive football,” Tedesco said.

“It is an ideal opportunity to test us at the very highest level. England may be missing some players, but that makes them anything but weak.”

Tedesco has not tasted defeat in his 11 games in charge since taking over from Roberto Martinez following a first-round exit in a disastrous World Cup campaign in Qatar.

The draw in Dublin was the first time his side have failed to score in that run but the return of Lukaku adds experience and a threat in the box that was lacking on Saturday.

Belgium winger Jeremy Doku, who plays for Manchester City, also believes it will be a perfect test to see where they are ahead of the Euro 2024 finals.

“I think it's going to be a nice match. That was not the case in Ireland, we are not going to deny that. I'm sure it will be completely different against England,” he said.

“Against this top country we are also going to be able to see how far we are currently. Then we can continue working towards the European Championship.”

Belgium have won three of their last four games against England but have not claimed a victory in five previous visits to London. 

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