Manchester United’s Adnan Januzaj admits that Liverpool signing Divock Origi helped him settle into life with the Belgium national team.
After his breakout season at Old Trafford, Januzaj earned a surprise first call-up to the senior squad for the World Cup, before going on to make his official debut in a warm-up game against Tunisia.
While he only managed 60 minutes in Brazil, during a 1-0 group victory over South Korea, the promising midfielder insists that he learned a great deal just from being in Marc Wilmots’ squad, and now hopes to use the experience to build towards Russia 2018.
“I am 19 years old so to go to the World Cup was a really big thing for me," he told ManUtd.com. “It was really good for me to be there with my team-mates. I have to say that the highlights were the lessons I learned. It will definitely benefit me in the future.
"I would now love to go to the next World Cup," he continued. "Like I say, I went to Brazil to learn and maybe for the next World Cup I will know exactly what to expect and what is waiting for me. There is a long time to go before then, but I hope to go there with Belgium."
With a squad full of emerging talent, Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ could well be among the favourites once the next World Cup rolls around, and Januzaj has noted how fellow prospects such as Origi have made his transition to the full setup a straightforward one.
"In football, you always have to have jokes around the team and play with the lads," he said. "We were all playing together as a team and I was not intimidated by being one of the youngest there.
“There was another player called Divock Origi, who signed for Liverpool. He's also 19 years old and was one of the youngest players, so it was quite easy to settle in."