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The prodigal son returns: Thomas Meunier joins the Red Devils in Germany

The prodigal son returns: Thomas Meunier joins the Red Devils in Germany

The Red Devils are finally at full strength with 25 players for the European Championship. Thomas Meunier (32) has arrived in Germany to join the Belgian squad and continue his rehabilitation from his hamstring injury. Wednesday’s match against Ukraine will come too early for Meunier in any case. The same applies to Axel Witsel.

The prodigal son is back. The reception at the team hotel was warm and welcoming, and the smile on his face spoke volumes. Thomas Meunier joined the Red Devils about 20 days after suffering a hamstring injury – a strain, not a tear – in the friendly match against Luxembourg. Initially, his trip to Germany was scheduled for Sunday, but the right-back had to undergo a scan for control in Belgium on Monday. Only then could he fly to Stuttgart.

Top physiotherapist

It was a mentally tough blow for Thomas Meunier to miss the start of this European Championship, but he never let his head hang. As soon as the bruising in his thigh had subsided, the 66-time international began his rehabilitation with top physiotherapist Lieven Maesschalck in Antwerp. He is now sufficiently recovered to rejoin the Belgian team, but that does not mean that the right-back will be immediately available. Wednesday’s match against Ukraine is definitely too early and if the Belgians qualify for the round of 16, it is also a matter of wait and see for the rest of the tournament. Meunier will be closely monitored by the medical staff and gradually integrated into group training. It remains to be seen how his body reacts.

However, national coach Domenico Tedesco believes it is important for Meunier to be with the squad. The coach refused to call up a replacement for him and said this earlier: “I didn’t want to drop Thomas for this tournament. You don’t just have the footballer Meunier, you also have the human being Meunier. He has made so many sacrifices to reach this European Championship. He went to play football in Turkey specifically to collect playing minutes. That shows motivation.”

The defender can also play a role off the field. He is a leader and a unifying figure in the squad. Meunier is not only a great patriot, he is also highly appreciated by all the players in the squad. It is this good group dynamic that Tedesco did not want to disturb.

Witsel stays in

So Thomas Meunier is hoping that Belgium will make it far in this European Championship. The same goes for Axel Witsel. He suffered a slight relapse of his groin injury and did not play against Romania. The Liege player had a new scan and did not appear at training on Monday. Witsel remained in the fitness room where he limited himself to cycling and strength training. It is also almost impossible for him to play the last group match against Ukraine and a question mark currently hangs over the rest of the tournament.

Written by Jose Machino

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