Adnan Januzaj is a star that has sparkled so far this season among the relative mediocrity at Manchester United. A brace to snatch the points against Sunderland last time out allowed the rising talent to firmly announce himself on the Premier League scene.
Belgian born Januzaj has unsurprisingly earned himself quite a following, with all manner of people fighting tirelessly for both his domestic and international signature; the latter is possibly the more intriguing. Gone are apparently the days when you simply played for the country you are born in, the case of Januzaj is much more complicated. His ancestry allows him to have eligibility for a handful of nations including England and the precocious Januzaj could well have a big decision on his hands in the near future.
The Brussels born teen has been hard pressed to join the Belgian golden generation but an Albanian father and Kosovan mother may well make the decision a little more complicated. Add to this Serbian and Turkish grandparents and you can begin to see the difficulties that Januzaj has going forward. The link to England is slightly more tenuous, with eligibility stemming from employment above all else.
Standing over the precipice of international footballing failure, securing Januzaj as an England international would be quite the coup. At 18 he may still be far from the finished product but if his recent cameo’s and form in the development squad are anything to go by he could well be a major star for many years to come.
Januzaj though has made it clear that any decision over his international future will be delayed in favour of a focus on his current club Manchester United:
“At the moment, international football isn’t something that I’ve thought a lot about,” Januzaj is quoted by the Daily Mirror.
“I know that, first, I have to concentrate on what I do for United, because that is the most important part of my career right now.
“I want to play well for United and give everything for my club.”
This is certainly a lifeline for the English national team who looked set to fall behind the likes of Belgium and Albania for the United man’s services. The attitude of Januzaj is clearly as refreshing as it is prudent; this isn’t really a decision that should be taken lightly clearly. Personally I cannot help but feel a slight sense of unease that tempers the whole issue. Playing for your national team should come with a sense of pride and duty for ones homeland, it isn’t a question of choosing it is an allegiance that most people are born with.
Now obviously I don’t have quite as complex a family history as Januzaj, but people do. There are people that have travelled the world lived in all sorts of places and gained citizenship in a variety of states because of it. Very few people do however feel devoid of a homeland, there is always a sense of allegiance with a particular country.
Clearly he may be hard pressed between his country of birth and that of his parents, but a decision to represent England is plainly a ridiculous notion. This isn’t just an eligibility debate this is turning into a moral one and I doubt it is something that England will see as anything more than a nice idea.
As sensible it is for Januzaj to delay and mull over the issue, it does seem a little odd that there isn’t an obvious place that the youngster feels most at home with. If that is genuinely the case I actually feel a little sad for Januzaj.
Quality footballers are few and far between and clearly England would jump at the chance to have someone like Januzaj in their set-up. Passion is something that comes naturally and pride in playing for the three lions isn’t something that comes artificially. Whatever nation Januzaj decides to represent he may well have to deal with issues like this in the early stages of what is sure to be a budding international career wherever he chooses to ply his trade.
I agree it is refreshing that the youngster wants to take time to think over the issue, however representing England at this stage lies within the realms of fantasy.
What do you make of Januzaj’s dilemma?
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