Kevin de Bruyne has condemned UEFA’s Nations League, branding the competition irrelevant, and has declared the players needed an extended rest in the off-season. One person very much on Kevin De Bruynes’ side of the Nations League debate is Jurgen Klopp, who has been critical of the introduction of the tournament on numerous occasions, as well as the added pressure that this puts on players. Belgium star Kevin De Bruyne is in no mood for competing in the UEFA Nations League this early after a busy season at Manchester City and has complained the players do not get any say over how many games are played. Kevin De Bruyne City is currently in the middle of an international break with Belgium, setting up for a number of UEFA Nations League fixtures. Still, following an exhausting season in which De Bruyne overcame injuries, Covid-19 and erratic form to inspire City to their fourth Premier League title in five years, it is clear that he would prefer to be somewhere else.

Days after the Champions League final was played in Paris, the Nations League, the tournament created by UEFA to replace friendlies with competitive fixtures, returned to the calendar. Belgium begins their 2022/23 campaign for the Nations League against the Netherlands, with three matches scheduled from 3 to June 13, adding to an already busy soccer calendar. Belgium faces Holland, Poland and Wales in group A over the next couple of weeks.

Belgium won League A Group 2 in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League to go to the semi-finals, in which they were defeated 3-2 by France prior to actually falling to Italy in the third-place playoff. This time, Roberto Martinez’s team will play the Netherlands, Poland, and Wales in the group stage, and it would not be surprising to see them reach the tournament’s semi-finals once more. Belgium will face the Netherlands, Poland twice, and Wales in the coming weeks, but they’re still looking ahead to the 2022 World Cup, when they will face Canada, Morocco, and Croatia in the pool stages.

Belgium’s top goalscorer Romelu Lukaku has resumed training prior to Friday’s Nations League clash with the Netherlands. At the same time, skipper Eden Hazard is unlikely to play the entire 90 minutes, according to manager Roberto Martinez. Hazard has been sidelined during most of the campaign at Real Madrid due to injury and a lack of fitness. Belgium is missing first-choice goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who decided to withdraw due to a long-standing groin injury following his Champions League exploits for Real Madrid last Saturday. Belgium continues its encounter against its neighbours on Friday with a game against Poland in Brussels on Wednesday, a play versus Wales away on June 11 and a match against Poland away on June 14.