Football

England embarrass themselves with pursuit of Adnan Januzaj

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Shortly after Adnan Januzaj introduced himself to the Premier League in spectacular fashion, Roy Hodgson declared that the FA want the young star to play for England.

Hodgson said to reporters: "There's no doubt that he's a real talent and we have our eyes on him but a lot will have to be discussed.

"Yes [he could play for England] down the line if he becomes naturalised or if he becomes a homegrown product."

The 18-year-old Manchester United player looks to be some talent, with his second against Sunderland - a sumptuous volley - showing particular class for someone so young.

David Moyes must be praised for giving the Old Trafford youngster a chance to shine but Januzaj's unfazed nature has taken all the plaudits. 

The race is now on for a host of international teams to seal his commitment. Unusually, Januzaj currently qualifies to play for four different nations with the player having links to Albania, Turkey, Kosovo and Belgium.

One country he most certainly can not play for, at least yet, is England.

FIFA rules state that any player who wishes to adopt a country must be a resident for five years after the age of 18 and must not have represented another country in competition.

Depending on how the vague rules are interpreted, Januzaj would have to wait as long as February 2018 before he could play for England. That's one World Cup and one European Championship gone, as well as five years of potentially crucial international experience.

But it's not only a waiting issue for Januzaj. Why would a player of his skill and talent turn down one of the strongest teams in Europe to play for a fledging England who can barely qualify for a World Cup?

Belgium are going through one of the most remarkable golden generations football has seen. Stars are seemingly popping up from every corner and have given them the tag of 'Dark Horse' for next year's World Cup.

Only a fool would turn down the chance to play with the young stars such as Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku on the international stage.

To add to this point, there is little to suggest that Januzaj would want to play for country he only moved to two years ago, rejecting the country that harboured his family.

The fact that he turned Belgium down was not an indication of his indecision but, more likely, that he knows Belgium are trying to tie him down as soon as possible and have no plans to introduce him in to the starting XI.

Such a decision shows maturity beyond his years - not that he wants to play for England.

By rejecting the call up he can concentrate on his development at Manchester United, knowing full well he will have plenty of opportunity to play for Belgium should he continue in the same vain.

Having him in an England shirt would be great, but I'm sure Albania would say the same thing should he decide to play for them and Kosovo and Turkey. 

But the fact remains that Januzaj comes from a nation that has a better chance of winning a World Cup thanks to years of improving youth academies across the country.

England have fallen behind and a Premier League full of foreign players has cost them on the international stage.

Trying to steal the young talent other countries have produced is a sign of desperate times for English football.

Manchester United fans can get excited about the young prodigy - England fans can not.

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Premier League
Manchester United
England Football

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