What a season it has been for Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj, and it could yet end with a place on the greatest footballing stage of all – the World Cup.
After the teenage attacker opted to play for Belgium, it would have been easy to think the headlines around his international allegiance would have desisted. But instead they simply took a different turn.
No longer were we writing and reading about which country Januzaj would opt to play for, with the country of his birth joined in the hypothetical tombola by Albania, Kosovo and a rather unlikely England. Now it was all about Everton star Kevin Mirallas’s comments.
“In his position there are some very good players and it will be very difficult,” Mirallas said. “He is yet to show he is a number one for his club. Euro 2016 is within reach.”
In truth the comments made an element of sense.
Januzaj did burst onto the scene at Old Trafford, but since the turn of the year he has played considerably less and will take time to become the player he is no doubt destined to be.
But at the same time, one wondered if Mirallas was more worried about his own place in the team than in Januzaj’s ability to cut it at the highest level.
Either way, his international manager Marc Wilmots has now had his say, and he was emphatic in his response.
In quotes attributed to Voetball International and later published by Sport Witness, Wilmots said, “On the selection I decide. Kevin may have his opinion, but he should not talk about others; or how new players like Januzaj can affect the group atmosphere? Stop talking nonsense.
“We have never had a problem when there is a new player. For Januzaj that will not be a problem. He has an exemplary attitude.”
So there you have it, Mirallas should do his talking on the pitch and allow Januzaj to do the same. After all, the way the teenage sensation started his career at United, there is every chance he could do the same for many people’s dark horses at this summer’s World Cup.