Thursday 26 April 2018

Adnan Januzaj declares for Belgium ahead of England - Belgian coach Marc Wilmots

Adnan Januzaj has made a big impression this season wih Manchester United
Adnan Januzaj has made a big impression this season wih Manchester United

Belgian head coach Marc Wilmots has tweeted that Adnan Januzaj has declared himself available for the Belgian national team snubbing attempts by the FA to nab him for Roy Hodgson's England.

The 19-year-old's breakthrough into the Old Trafford first team at the start of this season started the debate over which country he would go on to represent.

The Kosovo-born winger could have declared for England but according to Wilmots he has chosen to join a star-studded Belgium team which includes the likes of Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke and Thibaut Courtois.

Born in Belgium to ethnic Albanian parents from Kosovo, Januzaj was eligible to play for a number of countries and had been wooed by national teams including Belgium, Albania, Kosovo and England.

"I have received official confirmation that Adnan Januzaj has made himself available to the Belgium national team for the rest of his career," Wilmots said on his Twitter feed.

Belgium have qualified for the World Cup in Brazil and in a first-round group with Algeria, Russia and South Korea.

Januzaj would not have been eligible for England until 2018 - five years after his 18th birthday - but the point is now seemingly moot.

There was no official comment from the Belgian Football Association or Januzaj himself - but if true it puts him in with a chance of going to this summer's World Cup.

Wilmots is expected to announce his initial squad on May 13 but it now seems a matter of when, not if, Januzaj plays for Belgium.

Earlier this year Hodgson handed over any decision making to the Football Association, saying: "All I can say is that it's a matter for the FA Board because it raises a lot of issues.

"Until such time as the FA board have it very clear what their policy is going to be, is it going to be simply following FIFA dictates or slightly different in some way, all I can do is wait and see.

"But the one thing you have to understand with Januzaj whichever way England decide to go, with the way the rules are at the moment, there's no way he can play for England for the next few years."

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere caused controversy last year when he claimed the idea of seeing the likes of Januzaj play for England made him uncomfortable.

Wilshere told a press conference last October: "The only people who should play for England are English people... If you live in England for five years it doesn't make you English."

Wilshere later claimed his quotes were taken out of context.

You can see the tweet from Marc Wilmots announcing the news below.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport