World Cup 2018

Martínez mulling wholesale changes for England game

Wholesale changes could be an option - Martinez

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The Belgium boss has said he won't rule out resting several star players against England on Thursday with injuries and suspensions to consider.

Roberto Martínez says Belgium could make several changes to their team when they face England in Kaliningrad on Thursday.

Both Belgium and England have comfortably advanced to the knockout rounds after wins over Tunisia and Panama, but Martínez, 44, has decisions to make regarding his team selection for the match, which will determine the group winner.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne is one of three players who are one yellow card away from missing the last 16 match, whilst Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens and Vincent Kompany are all doubts with minor injuries.

Martínez: "Nobody has a place guaranteed in this team"

"It could be an option," Martínez said when asked if he would consider wholesale changes for the fixture.

"I think everybody deserves to play at the World Cup, so it's more important for me to be able to give that opportunity and see how they can react on the pitch and how much they can contribute.

"Nobody has a place guaranteed in this team at the moment, that's the way we are looking at it. So, it could be a possibility, yes."

The former Everton and Wigan Athletic manager acknowledged that he understood the importance of the fixture for the Premier League players in his squad, but said it would be unprofessional of him if key players missed out in the latter stages.

"We need to look after every individual in order to be as strong as we can for the knockout phases," he said.

"If that means some players need to miss out, that needs to be done for the good of the team and the good of the squad, so I don’t think it will be a problem to make the decisions that are right."

Belgium and England are currently locked at the top of Group G with identical records, so fair play could determine the group winner in the event of a draw.

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