Adnan Januzaj: Which nation shall he play for?


januzajManchester United’s new found blue eyed boy Adnan Januzaj has finally found his footing in the Manchester United senior team after his stupendous performance against Sunderland, overturning a 1-0 deficit to a 2-1 win.

As far as his international career is concerned, Januzaj is really spoilt for choices. Technically he is eligible for at least 5 nations to represent internationally and now that it is revealed that the English FA too is interested in him, that number has touched the half-dozen mark.

The nations for which he is eligible and the current status for each nation are detailed below:

1. Belgium

Januzaj was born and brought up in the city of Brussels in Belgium ad grew up training in the Anderlecht ranks. It is no secret that Belgian FA had earlier approached Januzaj for their U18 and U19 teams but at that time, he had refused to represent Belgium saying he was more interested in representing Albania. More recently, Belgium called him up for the senior national team for the FIFA WC Qualifiers but he snubbed Belgium again. Belgium, however, is doing great in the WCQ and look to qualify for the finals even without him.

2. Albania

Adnan’s eligibility for the Albanian national team stems from his parentage. His parents are of Kosovo-Albanian origin. Since Januzaj refused Belgium citing his interest in Albania, the Albanian coach is quite upbeat about it. In August, the coach Biasi said that they are waiting for the right time to draft Januzaj in the team.

3. Kosovo

Since the homeland of Adnan’s parents is Kosovo, he is eligible to represent Kosovo football team too. But Kosovo is not recognized by FIFA as an international team and hence it would make zero sense to play for a side that can only play exhibition matches, being such a talent. The same was recognized by the Kosovo FA when they said that they would not  unfairly Januzaj to represent Kosovo.

4. Serbia

Serbia claims Kosovo to be part of its territory and hence the claim extends to Januzaj. There has been no news of Serbia expressing their interest in Januzaj and vice versa. Kosovo has only partial recognition as an independent republic as a little over 100 nations acknowledge them to be a free nation, the rest of the world still sees it as a part of Serbia. At the moment, Serbia would like to sort out the geopolitical situation rather than involving added controversy by claiming Januzaj.

5. Turkey

Adnan’s relation with Turkey has two generations’ gap. His grandparents were Turkish and FIFA allows you to exploit that connection!

6 England

Technically Januzaj may never play for England because actually he is not eligible. But it appears that the English FA has been monitoring him and trying to work out a way to get him don the English colors. If Adnan spends five years in England continuously without a long break, then according to FIFA rules he might play for England provided the agreement between the Wales, Scotland, England and Northern Ireland regarding naturalisation (1993) is modified. Even if all this is done, Januzaj will have to stay till 2018 in England to be eligible and it is less likely that he would wait that long for an international appearance.

Januzaj definitely has many options to chose from and he may chose one soon to be able to play in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. England, though, may not be among his options.

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