Adnan Januzaj has pledged his international future to Belgium after months of speculation. The 19-year-old could have played for Albania, Kosovo, England, Turkey, Serbia and Croatia. He had previously rejected the calls of Belgium back in October after he was called up for the squads to face Croatia and Wales, but with the World Cup in sight, he has finally committed to the country of his birth.
Despite this, there are no guarantees he will make the World Cup squad. Januzaj’s agent Dirk De Vriese told Belgian website sport: “Adnan has not talked to coach Wilmots and has received no guarantee that he will be selected for the World Cup. He must first become a regular at United and then we will see what happens.”
Januzaj started his youth career in Belgium, playing for FC Brussels before moving to Anderlecht as a ten-year-old. It was at Anderlecht were he caught the eye of Manchester United, impressing in a skills session in Brussels with the Premier League club.
Yet to make a senior appearance for any club, he signed for Manchester United in March 2011. He was eventually promoted to the first-team near the of the 2012-13 season and he was named on the bench for Sir Alex Ferguson’s final game in charge of the club.
But his first team chance wasn’t too far away. Such were his performances in the reserves he won the Denzil Haroun reserve team player of the year as the Manchester United under-21s enjoyed a successful season.
His first team debut came in David Moyes’s competitive debut as he appeared in Manchester United’s community shield win over Wigan Athletic in August 2013. From there his United career took over, and under Moyes he has made 26 appearances in the Premier League.
For a lot of the time during Moyes’s reign, it was Januzaj who dragged the team along with inspiring performances over the likes of West Ham and Sunderland. Perhaps Moyes’s greatest achievement as Manchester United was putting Januzaj in to the forefront of the Manchester United team.
After an impressive first season as a first-team player, there’s an argument to suggestion Januzaj is almost just as important to the Red Devils as Wayne Rooney is. Manchester United are visibly improved when the young Belgian plays, and whoever does take charge this summer, they ought to make the 19-year-old a permanent fixture in the United midfield.
If he does become a regular fixture in the United line-up, he will surely feature in the Belgian national team on a permanent basis. That will only boost their reputation as a growing footballing nation, combining him and Hazard in the same team may be one of the best attacking pairings in world football.
While the World Cup may be too soon for the Belgium national team, they should have the European Championships in France firmly in their sights. Considering they will have a large support, they will be a dangerous side in the competition.