Football

Manchester United youngster faces international decision

Januzaj is yet to decide which country he will represent (©GettyImages)
Januzaj is yet to decide which country he will represent (©GettyImages).

It’s safe to say it’s been a big six months for young Adnan Januzaj. The Belgian youngster has undergone a meteoric rise from occasional reserve team player to the fringes of the Manchester United first team culminating in a new five-year deal at Old Trafford.

Having not long broken into the reserve team set up, Januzaj soon found himself regularly training with the first team before being handed his Premier League debut on the last day of last season against West Bromwich Albion.

The 18-year-old went on to be one of the standout players on the champions' pre-season tour, turning in consistently impressive performance that led Eric Harrison, the man behind the infamous class of ’92, to liken the starlet’s abilities to a certain Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, having committed himself to his club the cultured midfielder’s international future is not so clear.

Although Belgian born, Januzaj also qualifies for Albania through his parents and the Albanians are known to be interested in securing the services of such a bright talent. 

Januzaj is claimed to have turned down several approaches to represent Belgium at various youth levels with former coach Marc Van Geersom claiming the player would prefer to play for Albania while Marc Wilmots, coach of the senior Belgian national team, is also planning talks to discuss Januzaj’s intentions. 

"My assistant Vital Borkelmans spoke a while ago already with Januzaj. I will soon do and it is up to him to decide. Januzaj never played in pulling on a shirt of the Red Devils (Belgium). Not even the youth. He has always refused." Wilmots told Sport.be. 

Wilmots was keen to stress he would not be asking new Old Trafford arrival and fellow Belgian Marouane Fellaini to influence his compatriot.

"I do not ask Marouane to influence him. That is absolutely not his job," he added. 

Belgium are going through something of a purple patch nationally with the likes of Vincent Kompany, Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke and Fellaini making them a serious force to be reckoned with.

Albania, though, are not doing too badly either and currently sit second in their World Cup qualifying group and look to be on course for a playoff spot following a period of significant development.

In truth, it is most likely a decision for the future that needn’t weigh too heavily Januzaj, who will no doubt be more concerned with impressing David Moyes and forcing his way into first-team setup at Old Trafford.

When the time does come for a decision to be made, Januzaj will have the pick of two of Europe’s most progressive forces to choose from and it seems it will come down to a battle between nature and nurture.

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Topics:
Belgium Football
Manchester United
Football
Premier League

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