Kevin Mirallas Says Adnan Januzaj 'Doesn't Deserve' Belgian National Team Spot

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2014

Manchester United's Adnan Januzaj  during the English Premier League soccer match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester United at The Hawthorns Stadium in West Bromwich, England, Saturday, March 8, 2014.  (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)
Rui Vieira

Amidst a disastrous season for Manchester United, one positive for the club has been the play of young winger Adnan Januzaj.

Now the 19-year-old has declared he will play for Belgium as his national team and is a possible selection for this summer's World Cup.

But not all of his teammates on the national team believe he should be making the trip, including Kevin Mirallas, who told Belgian television station RTBF (via The Guardian) that Januzaj shouldn't be packing his bags for Brazil:

It's good for Belgium because he is a very good player.

Now, like a lot of people have said, he may not deserve to come to Brazil with us because he does not know the group and he has not played much for Manchester United in recent months. In his position there are some very good players and it will be very difficult. He has yet to show he is a No. 1 for his club. For him, Euro 2016 is within reach.

Mirallas is right about one thing—Belgium is loaded at the attacking positions. Along with himself, the country also boasts burgeoning superstar Eden Hazard along with Kevin De Bruyne and Nacer Chadli capable of playing out wide in the attack. 

That doesn't necessarily mean that Januzaj shouldn't warrant a spot on the team, but one would guess he'd find it hard to get on the pitch in Brazil. His agent, Dirk De Vriese, told Belgian website Sport (via The Guardian) that his client doesn't expect a guarantee he'll be on the way to Brazil:

Belgium is the most logical choice—he was born in Brussels, studied here and has his friends. His relationship with Kosovo and Albania made sure it was a difficult decision but his family supported whatever choice he made. But 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.

In general, this Belgium team is loaded, with players like Vincent Kompany, Jan VertonghenMarouane FellainiMousa Dembele, Axel Witsel, Romelu LukakuThibaut Courtois and Simon Mignolet all available.

But Januzaj has turned heads when he's appeared for United this season. According to WhoScored, he's earned a 6.87 average match rating in 24 Premier League appearances (13 starts), scoring four goals and adding three assists. 

There's no question he has a bright future. You don't impress at United as a 19-year-old unless you are a special talent, and were he on a less stacked club, he might have had even more opportunity to show his class this season. A spot on the Belgian national team is forthcoming.

But barring an injury to one of Belgium's attacking players, it might not happen this year. Hazard is a lock to play if he is healthy, while players like Mirallas probably feel they have more of a claim to a starting spot out wide. 

It's certainly a good problem for coach Marc Wilmots to have.