Adnan Januzaj a Shock Nominee for BBC 2013 Young Sports Personality of the Year

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 3, 2013

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 22:  Adnan Januzaj of Manchester United during a training session at Aon Training Complex on October 22, 2013 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Despite making his Premier League debut against Crystal Palace just 11 weeks ago, Adnan Januzaj has caused a stir after being named as one of the 10 athletes on the shortlist for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

Since mid-September, the 18-year-old has made seven league appearances for Manchester United, only four of which have been starts, scoring a brace in the 2-1 win over Sunderland at the start of October.

As Martyn Ziegler of the Daily Mail reports, Januzaj, while not yet eligible to play for the England national team, is free to win the BBC award as his achievements weren't for any particular nation and occurred in Britain.

The Belgian-born Kosovar, who could also represent Albania, Turkey or Serbia on the international scene, has been at the centre of some controversy in recent months given that he is yet to choose which country he'll play for.

TalkSPORT's Richard Keys is one of those not to buy into Januzaj's push for the award wholeheartedly:

Also on the shortlist to win this year's Young Sports Personality of the Year is shooter Amber Hill, golfer Charley Hull, weightlifter Rebekah Tiler and canoeist Kimberley Woods. Athletes Dina Asher-Smith, Jessica Judd and Isaac Towers also feature along with swimmers James Guy and Amy Marren.

Last year, it was Josef Craig who won the award after triumphing at the 2012 London Paralympics, winning a gold medal in the S7 400-metre men's freestyle, setting a new world record in the final.

BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year Shortlist
NameSports ProfessionAge
Dina Asher-SmithAthletics17 (turns 18 Dec. 4)
James GuySwimming18
Amber HillShooting16
Charley HullGolf17
Adnan JanuzajPremier League Footballer18
Jess JuddAthletics18
Amy MarrenParalympic Swimmer15
Rebekah TilerWeightlifter14
Isaac TowersWheelchair Athletics15
Kimberley WoodsCanoe Slalom18
BBC Sport


All of Januzaj's fellow contenders for the 2013 edition are very prominent figures in their respective fields, whether it is at the youth level or among senior competitors.

Although United's 2012/13 Reserve Team Player of the Year has coped well with the early demands of life in the English top flight, one has to question whether the teen has really done enough to warrant inclusion among the rest of the field.

Rules state that any nominee must be 17 years of age on Jan. 1, 2013, in order to be considered for the award.

Even looking at other Premier League players alone, the likes of Southampton's Luke Shaw, Arsenal's Serge Gnabry or Liverpool's Raheem Sterling may have been considered more likely candidates, but even then a push for the accolade seems unjust.

Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott are the only footballers to have won the award in the past, but each had a considerable amount more playing experience than Januzaj currently does at the time.

The Red Devils won't be complaining about their starlet receiving the nod, however, in a move that's likely only to strengthen calls for Januzaj to one day represent England after qualifying via residency.


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