Belgium national team manager Marc Wilmots has reiterated he wants Adnan Januzaj to declare his availability for the country of his birth, TeamTalk
Januzaj grabbed the attention of the football world on Saturday when his brace delivered a 2-1 win for United over Sunderland, and led to suggestions the 18-year-old could play for England once he qualifies on residency grounds. As well as Belgium, Januzaj is also eligible for Albania, Serbia and Kosovo through his parents’ birthplace, although Kosovo has yet to be fully recognised by FIFA.
Belgium have made repeated attempts to steer Januzaj their way – including an approach to be included in the squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers – but Januzaj again insisted he was not ready to make a decision over his international future.
Wilmots explained: “This was the first time I have tried to include him in a squad, because I wanted to send him a clear message. Unfortunately, I had a very quick response from England, when Manchester United called me to say the player felt he was not ready to make a choice about his international future.
“I respect his stance. Every player has the right to make his own choice, and I will not attempt to make any sort of ultimatum to him. But I do intend meeting Adnan and his entourage to find out for myself exactly what their thoughts are. You cannot force a player to choose a country. It has to come from his heart. Clearly, when you have a player of his technique and ability, the door to the national team always stays open.”
Wilmots added that he expected Januzaj to agree a new contract to stay at Old Trafford in the near future, with a desire to earn a regular place at club level before making his mark internationally also a factor in the 18-year-old’s reticence to commit to Belgium, despite being born in Brussels and starting his career with Anderlecht.
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