TUBIZE, Belgium, (AFP) – Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne said on Tuesday he was "honoured" to be named Belgium captain following Eden Hazard's retirement from international football.
The Red Devils coach Domenico Tedesco chose playmaker De Bruyne for the position after Real Madrid's Hazard, who turned 32 in January, ended his Belgium career following last year's World Cup.
Tedesco, who took over from Roberto Martinez after the tournament, has called up 19-year-olds Zeno Debast and Romeo Lavia to what was an ageing squad.
"It's an honour for me to be named and represent the country in this way," De Bruyne told RTL-TVI television.
"I'm almost 32. I've never considered international retirement. I think I can still bring something to the table and help the youngsters," he added.
Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Chelsea attacker Romelu Lukaku will be De Bruyne's vice-captains.
De Bruyne was one of the players criticised after The Red Devils were knocked out in the group stage in Qatar.
De Bruyne has played 97 games for Belgium scoring 25 goals and will make his debut as skipper in Sweden on Friday in a Euro 2024 qualifier.
They will also face Austria, Azerbaijan and Estonia in the campaign for the tournament held in Germany next summer.