Mertens to start ahead of De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne may have to watch Belgium from the bench as they take on the Netherlands in a friendly on Wednesday night.

The 25-year-old Manchester City midfielder has been in sensational form this season, but so has Dries Mertens, says Red Devils boss Roberto Martinez.

De Bruyne sat out of the World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia and Gibraltar with a hamstring injury last month, with Mertens taking his place.

And ahead of Wednesday's tie, Martinez told FIFA.com: “It’s a big problem. Kevin is having probably the best season of his career. We couldn’t wait until he was fit again.

“But Dries Mertens has done exceptionally well. He was probably our most impressive player in recent matches. And he’s been doing well for his club. Dries is in good form and we should take advantage of this.”

Martinez added that with Vincent Kompany back following a long injury layoff, he will make sure not to overuse the 30-year-old, who has made just three appearances for City this season.

He added: "We’re in good communication with Manchester City. We’ve really gone into detail with Vincent and he’s ready. The amount of minutes will depend on the need of the games but we’ll never put the programme he has at risk.

“We’re really looking forward to getting him back to the group. He’s an experienced player and I want him to see the new settings. His experience will be good for some of the young players.”

Belgium play Estonia in a World Cup qualifier on Sunday.

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