Manchester United wonderkid Adnan Januzaj at centre of tug-of-war

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Will Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj play for Belgium or Albania?

Manchester United last month tied young talent Adnan Januzaj down to a new contract, with the teenager impressing on the club's overseas tour in pre-season.

Januzaj is just 18, but is already attracting admiring glances in terms of senior international football.

The teenager has a decision to make, as he is eligible for two countries - Belgium and Albania. He was born in Belgium but his parents are Kosovan-Albanian.

In footballing terms, you may consider it an easy choice, with Belgium's 'golden generation' on the cusp of a first World Cup appearance since 2002, but Albania are a country on the up themselves.

Belgian international coach Marc Wilmots said today that Januzaj has a decision to make, and must go with the heart.

"My assistant Vital Borkelmans spoke a while ago already with Januzaj. I will soon do and it is up to him to decide. Januzaj never played in pulling on a shirt of the Red Devils. Not even the youth. He has always refused."

Belgium's national team are nicknamed the Red Devils, but Wilmots adds he will not be pressuring United new boy Marouane Fellaini to persuade the youngster.

"I do not ask Marouane to influence him. That is absolutely not his job."

It's likely Januzaj has not decided either way, and but it will not be long until he is required to commit his future. He is believed to be wanted very much so by the Albanians, who are a nation enjoying a positive football moment.

Captained by Lazio midfielder Lorik Cana they sit second in World Cup qualifying Group E, ahead of Slovenia, Norway, Iceland and Cyprus, and four points behind leaders Switzerland.

If they can hold the position, it leaves them in line for a shock play-off berth to qualify for the World Cup.

In July they rose to 37 in the FIFA World Rankings (now down to 38), a rise of nearly 90 places in the last 16 years. They are ranked one place below Shinji Kagawa's Japan, and above countries including Ireland, Scotland, Wales, South Korea, Turkey and Paraguay.

An obvious decision may not quite be so clear for Januzaj, and all eyes will be on him to commit one way or another as his career continues to blossom.

image: © Iris Chase

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