Timothy Castagne who suffered an unfortunate injury in Belgium’s opener at the Euros has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament. The wingback was immediately rushed to a hospital in St Petersburg. After initial reports, Roberto Martinez confirmed that Castagne will be out of the tournament. Martinez has to search for a Catagne replacement now, which is not going to be an easy task for the Spaniard.
Belgium’s solid start to the tournament was clouded by two injuries. The Red Devils who entered the mega event as hot favorites blew away Russia. Thomas Meunier came on as a substitute for Castagne scored their second goal and grabbed an assist. Romelu Lukaku sandwiched Meunier’s goals as he continued his scoring streak. Jan Vertonghen also limped off earlier in the game.
🇧🇪 Belgium ease to victory against Russia in St Petersburg ✅
ℹ️ Lukaku scores twice and becomes Belgium's outright all-time top goalscorer at the EUROs
Tournament favourites? 🧐#EURO2020
— UEFA Nations League (@EURO2024) June 12, 2021
With Castagne ruled out Martinez has some pondering to do. Martinez is deprived of a starter as he aims to lead the Golden Generation of Belgium to European glory. He has some options in his squad and can also call upon few options from the outside. We at FootTheBall inspect what can be done with this situation.
Castagne enjoyed an impressive campaign with Leicester City in the Premier League. Naturally, he was called up to the national squad by Martinez. He was expected to be a squad player but Martinez included him in his starting lineup. The 25-year-old in his first major tournament with Belgium was buzzing and looking to make an impact.
Belgium and Leicester ace Timothy Castagne out of Euro 2020 due to an eye injury. https://t.co/cxFdvSB9Zn
— NSL News Update. (@Nationalsport19) June 13, 2021
The wingback had an early chance to put a cross in but he failed to get the ball under control. They enjoyed a fruitful spell with the ball and even scored. In the 25th minute, Castagne jumped into an aerial duel with Daler Kuzyeav. The pair caught each other heavily and went down immediately. Referee Mateu Lahoz called the medics onto the field and Castagne was taken off the pitch with an icebag on his head.
He was immediately rushed to a hospital in St Petersburg. Initial reports revealed he suffered a “double eye socket fracture”. Later on, head coach Martinez said “ Really bad news. Sad to see Timothy is going to be out of the tournament”. A tournament that promised so much from the defender ended early sadly for the defender.
THE WAY AHEAD
Roberto Martinez can solve this problem in a number of ways. Thomas Meunier can replace Castagne within the squad as an ideal like for like. He can either opt for a like-for-like replacement for Castagne from outside the squad. If not a similar replacement, a different option can be called upon after assessing his squad after the Russia game.
The 26-year-old plays as a right-back for the French outfit Stade de Reims. He also has the ability to play as a wide midfielder. This makes him the perfect fit for Martinez’s wingback system. Foket has an attacking mindset and is defensively sound. A total of four assists were dished out from his right foot. Though he was bright his Reims side settled with a poor 14th placed finish.
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) November 12, 2020
Foket made his International debut in 2016 under Martinez himself. He failed to win the trust of his coach regularly. However, he has been in his plans again as he made sporadic appearances in the recent world cup qualifiers and nations league games. He might be the go-to option if Martinez opts a like for like.
ALEXIS SAELEMAEKERS AND ADNAN JANUZAJ
Martinez can tinker his approach to include an attacker on the right-hand side. When the final squad was announced Januzaj was excluded from the squad. Januzaj has been in good form with Real Sociedad and was shocked at not getting the callup. A sudden injury opening might come as a blessing for him and he might be fancying his chances.
Welcome back, boys! 🇧🇪 pic.twitter.com/eSe7E4n5WH
— Belgian Red Devils (@BelRedDevils) March 23, 2021
Saelemaekers meanwhile has enjoyed an outstanding breakthrough season at Milan. The 21-year-old plays as a wide-right midfielder for the Italian Club. He was also deployed as a right-back sometimes and made a good impression. Having made his debut with the Red Devils last year the youngster must be prepared for anything.
It must be stunning to say this but Liverpool’s forgotten man was a key player for Belgium once upon a time. The striker used to score key goals for them. He slipped down the pecking order at Liverpool and it showed its effect on the Belgian national team.
We know Origi is a big game player and scores clutch goals. He might just be the lucky charm Belgium needs to find good luck in international tournaments. Imagine coming off the bench and scoring a winner in the finals eh?