Surprise reasons behind Manchester United wonderkid Januzaj's disappointing World Cup

Adnan Januzaj was hailed as Belgium's secret weapon at the World Cup, so why the lack of faith in the Manchester United youngster?

After a year's wait to find out which country Adnan Januzaj would choose to represent in international football, the end result lacked a fairytale ending.

Belgium were seen by many as the wise choice, evidenced by his very selection in the 2014 World Cup squad, but when it came to the tournament itself his impact was negligible.

The teenager played in only one game, and was not used at all during the knockout stages of the competition.

  MatchMatchdayMinsTouchesTotal Key PassesWon DribblesTotal Scoring Attempts
Adnan Januzaj vs South Korea 03 60 32 0 2 0

Manager Marc Wilmots said ahead of the tournament that Januzaj was there to 'gain experience', and it certainly will have been valuable to the 19-year-old.

But were there more pertinent reasons why he was not used in more decisive situations, with Belgium needing goals against USA and Argentina?

Belgian newspaper Nieuwsblade believe that his performance against South Korea showed he simply was not ready to make an impact on the team:

"In it he made no lasting impression. He rarely came to the ball and was called off the pitch after an hour."

They also suggest the style of his participation in training sessions did not help his cause: "In training we saw Januzaj make too little mark. And no, not because he was intimidated by his team mates... Januzaj was afraid to get injured."

Perhaps the most controversial statement however, comes that 'by many other players, he is still regarded as a competitor.'

Everton's Kevin Mirallas said before the tournament kicked off, quoted in The Mail, "I don’t think he should go to Brazil. It would not be fair to leave out another good player for someone who does not know the others and has not played a lot for his club in recent months.

"Adnan does not know the group, and the fact is, he has not had much game time at Manchester United lately. It’s not as if we are short of good players in that area of the team."

The Belgian report suggest this sentiment has not been forgotten, and may explain his lack of involvement in his one and only showing against South Korea.

There are positives to take for Januzaj however, in that now with the tournament under his belt he will be more greatly accepted than he was prior.

The Euro 2016 qualifying begins this Autumn and it is a clean slate for everybody involved. Januzaj is already a strong candidate to make the first XI he continues his rapid progression.

With a couple of seasons under his belt between now and then, and the journey of qualification - Belgium may see a very different Adnan Januzaj by time the tournament in France begins.

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