Adnan Januzaj Needs to Put Manchester United Before International Talk

Alex LivieFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2013

Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has come under fire from the father of Adnan Januzaj, reports, as the youngster’s international future continues to be headline news.

As an untested 18-year-old, aside from a handful of appearances for Manchester United this season, there is massive chatter surrounding a player who has yet to give a firm indication as to which country he would like to play for.

Adnan januzaj s father is angry with belgium manager marc wilmots.

— Man utd latest (@Commedycreator) October 17, 2013

The Mail’s Matt Lawton claimed in an exclusive article on Thursday that Januzaj would pin his shirt to England’s mast if the FA could find a way to cut down the five-year residency rule. As things stand, Januzaj would not be eligible to represent the Three Lions until 2016.

There are other countries jockeying for position in the Januzaj race, on account of his place of birth and family ties. The 18-year-old was born in Belgium, but he could also represent Albania, Croatia, Serbia and Turkey—and Kosovo if they were to become a recognised FIFA nation.

Belgium have been the most vocal in their courting of Januzaj, although coach Wilmots moved to put the ball in the youngster’s court by saying he must prove his desire to play for the national team.

Per’s report, via Belgian broadcaster RTBF, Wilmots said:

The boy was born in Belgium, should he say that he wants to play for Belgium—from there, there is no haggling. I'm not going to play that game.

The kid is available? He wants to play? Then perfect, okay, show me.

If you're at the top level in Manchester or elsewhere, show me your skills and if I need you I will call.

Wilmots’ stance has been met with shock by the player’s father, Abedin, who is again quoted by as saying:

This is shameless.

We never reacted on selections, phone calls or letters from the Belgian FA.

They are requesting his selection, not us. Wilmots' remarks won't make it easier now. We are angry about these comments.

Januzaj is being talked about as if he is the next Lionel Messi. He has time on his side to make that step to global superstardom, but it is a huge gulf at this stage.

There’s no guarantee Januzaj will be handed a start by United boss David Moyes for Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Southampton, so it should raise eyebrows that he is being talked about in such glowing terms.

In fairness to Januzaj, he has not been the one doing the talking. It has been his father, Wilmots, England boss Roy Hodgson and Jack Wilshere to name but a few that have been answering questions from the media.

At the present moment, Belgium are Januzaj’s only shot at playing in next year’s World Cup (that could change should Croatia win through a qualification playoff).

An awful lot could happen in his career before the 2018 World Cup in Russia. There have been many potential greats who have fallen by the wayside, so the sensible option would be to get game time under his belt with Manchester United and make a decision early in 2014 as to whether he wants to play in the next World Cup, or sit tight and wait.