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Eden Hazard: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte surprised at Belgium call-up

Eden Hazard: Chelsea boss Antonio Conte surprised at Belgium call-up

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte said he is “surprised” that Belgium have named winger Eden Hazard in their squad for their forthcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Hazard has not played since suffering an ankle injury on international duty in June that required surgery.

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“It’s very important to give the right time to recover well,” said Conte.

Conte revealed he learned of Hazard’s call-up just 20 minutes before Friday’s news conference and had not spoken to Belgium boss Roberto Martinez.

“I was a coach of the national team with Italy so I respect the decision of the coach,” added Conte

“If Hazard isn’t ready he will not play, it’s why he doesn’t play with us.”

Conte, who will again be without Hazard for Sunday’s Premier League match at home to Everton, said it would be a “big mistake” to bring the midfielder back from injury too quickly.

Belgium host Gibraltar on 31 August followed by a trip to Greece on 3 September.

BBC Sports

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