Roberto Martinez believes Romelu Lukaku will be available for the World Cup knockout stages despite his injury concerns.
Speaking to Sky Sports, the Belgium manager confidently predicted the return of the Chelsea loanee for the latter stages of the competition.
Lukaku was selected by Martinez for the tournament in Qatar, even though there are questions over the striker’s fitness.
The 29-year-old has hardly kicked a football since returning to Inter Milan from Stamford Bridge over the summer.
He has missed a majority of the season due to various wounds, with his last start recorded back in August.
It is a continuation of the pain and frustration he felt during the bulk of his second-spell at Chelsea.
But due to the attacker’s importance to Belgium, Martinez felt it necessary to include him in the 26-man squad.
“We have a very experienced medical department that has been working with Romelu and all the players for many, many years,” said the ex-Everton boss.
“Medically, we feel Lukaku could make that second World Cup (knockout stage).
“We will take until the 22nd of November where we can see (if) Lukaku can have a big impact in this World Cup.”
Will Lukaku really be available for the World Cup?
By the 22nd of November, Belgium will be one day away from their World Cup opener against Canada.
They then have Morocco and Croatia to prepare for, fixtures Lukaku might be desperate to feature in due to potentially facing some familiar faces.
Hakim Ziyech will be on the plane to Qatar with Morocco, having been restored to the set-up following a dispute with the former manager.
Mateo Kovacic is also going to play a prominent part for Croatia, although his own fitness might be a worry.
A big blue reunion, how lovely.