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 By Mark Rodden

Divock Origi, Christian Benteke in 24-man Belgium squad before Euro 2016

Liverpool's Divock Origi and Christian Benteke have been included in Belgium's 24-man squad for a training camp ahead of Euro 2016.

Origi, 21, faces a race against time to be fit for the competition but, as Belgium manager Marc Wilmots promised last month, he will be given every chance to prove his fitness. 

Wilmots had been tipped to pick Everton's Romelu Lukaku and Marseille's Michy Batshuayi as the only other recognised strikers in his lineup for next month's tournament in France.

But Benteke, 25, has also been included and Wilmots said one of the nine defenders chosen will lose out when he trims his squad by one before the UEFA deadline on June 1.

"Honestly, every time I've seen him play -- in spurts of 20 minutes or a quarter of an hour -- he's been good," Wilmots said of Benteke.

"He was injured for a while but every time he's provided an assist or he's scored, and I know Christian. I think there are a lot of teams in England who would like to have him."

Belgium will be without their captain Vincent Kompany, who misses the competition through injury, as they try to justify their ranking as the top European side by targeting victory in France.

Wilmots confirmed that Chelsea's Eden Hazard will take over the captaincy and said he sees Manchester City's Jason Denayer, currently on loan at Galatasaray, as an ideal replacement in defence.

"It's a pity for him and for the team because he's our leader and he will not be there," Wilmots said of Kompany. "I see Jason as the replacement for Kompany, to be clear, because he's a player who has more or less the same profile."

Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have formed a strong centre-back pairing for Tottenham but have usually been deployed at full-back by Belgium.

When asked whether Alderweireld would move across to replace Kompany in the starting XI, Wilmots chose to keep people guessing.

"It's not at all inconceivable but we'll see who'll be present," he said.

"Everything is possible. The two could come into the centre, Toby and Jan, and I have solutions on the flanks.

"That's why I picked pure full-backs so I could have alternatives so I wouldn't be stuck in case there are a lot of injuries."

Seven players were named on standby for the tournament, including Tottenham's Nacer Chadli, Everton's Kevin Mirallas, Nantes' Guillaume Gillet and Montreal Impact defender Laurent Ciman.

Uncapped Club Brugge centre-half Bjorn Engels has made the cut in defence, while Wilmots explained that Chadli lost out due to competition from Origi and Atletico Madrid's Yannick Ferreira Carrasco.

"I said that Origi and Carrasco are two players who have pace -- a huge amount of pace," he said. "When we're in possession we have a lethal weapon.

"Nacer has had difficulty the last three months and I'm not sure that he's 100 percent fit... he didn't know that he wasn't going to be selected.

"At a certain point you have to decide and make choices. It was Nacer or Christian [Benteke] and I prefer to take an extra attacker because on the wings I think there's not much more to repeat about Origi/Carrasco and Mertens/Hazard, left and right."

Belgium will play Switzerland in a friendly in Geneva on May 28 before Wilmots makes his final decision on who will drop out of the squad.

Zenit centre-back Nicolas Lombaerts, who has a minor injury, and Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen could be playing for their place in the squad during that game.

Vermaelen, 30, has only played 10 league games for Barcelona this season and none since March.

Wilmots' side, who reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup, are currently ranked second in the world behind Argentina.

They qualified for this summer's tournament by topping their group ahead of Wales and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Belgium squad:

Goalkeepers: Thiabut Courtois, Jean-Francois Gillet, Simon Mignolet

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Jason Denayer, Bjorn Engels, Nicolas Lombaerts, Jordan Lukaku, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen

Midfielders: Mousa Dembele, Marouane Fellaini, Radja Nainggolan, Axel Witsel

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi, Christian Benteke, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens, Divock Origi

Standby: Nacer Chadli, Laurent Ciman, Laurens De Bock, Guillaume Gillet, Thorgan Hazard, Kevin Mirallas, Matz Sels

Mark covers European football for ESPN FC. Twitter: @mrodden

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