Romelu Lukaku ruled out of Ireland’s game against Belgium

Roma striker joins Manchester City midfield Kevin De Bruyne in staying with his club

Romelu Lukaku has been ruled out of Saturday’s international friendly between Belgium and the Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

The Roma striker joins Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois on the Red Devils high-profile list of absentees.

“Romelu Lukaku is not fit for the game against Ireland due to a slightly overloaded groin,” confirmed the Royal Belgium FA. “He left the camp but will travel with the team on Friday to Dublin and England.”

The fourth-best football nation in the world faces England, ranked third by Fifa, at Wembley on Tuesday, the same day John O’Shea’s Ireland welcome Switzerland to the Aviva.


Courtois may not return to the Belgian squad ahead of Euro 2024 due to an ongoing rift with national manager Domenico Tedesco.

“I have tried everything, absolutely everything,” said Tedesco when asked last week about Courtois who is due to resume playing in April following knee surgery.

In response to Tedesco’s comments, the Madrid goalkeeper took to X, posting three Pinocchio emojis.

Tedesco is under contract until the 2026 World Cup so the 31-year-old shotstopper’s international career may be on hold for the foreseeable future.

O’Shea, meanwhile, has added Derry City goalie Brian Maher to the training group this week following the former Irish under-21s outstanding performance against Bohemians last Friday.

No replacements have been called up to replace injured pair Liam Scales and Troy Parrott with O’Shea to select left back from Robbie Brady, Matt Doherty and Callum O’Dowda while Evan Ferguson, Adam Idah and Michael Obafemi appear to be ahead of Parrott in the current striker pecking order.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent