Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj has reportedly received death threats from a series of disgruntled Kosovan Albanians after pledging his international allegiance to Belgium.
The 19-year-old opted to represent the Red Devils prior to the World Cup, and was a surprise inclusion in Marc Wilmots’s 23-man squad for the tournament in Brazil this summer.
Januzaj was restricted to just one appearance at the finals, starting the final Group H game – a 1-0 victory against South Korea – but was hauled off after an hour following quiet display
Still, the experience of travelling to a World Cup and being involved in the day-to-day training with the Belgian squad will stand Januzaj in good stead for the future, as long as he hasn’t been put off by any of the unsavoury messages of discontent.
Sport Witness references a report from Het Neuwsblid that cites Serbian Radio station suggesting that the death threats were made after Januzaj turned his back on his motherland.
The Manchester United man had a clutch of different countries fighting to secure his services – including Albania, Kosovo, Serbia and England – with the talented teenager allegedly eligible to represent any of those nations, having not featured at any youth international level for any country.
Januzaj was actually born in Brussels where his Kosovar-Albanian family had migrated in 1992 so his father could escape Yugoslav Army recruitment, so it’s no real surprise that he took the decision to represent Belgium at international level.
“Because I was born here and have studied here,” he explained last month at the training camp of the national team . “My future is in Belgium.”
After joining Anderlecht as a 10-year-old in 2005, Januzaj was snapped up by Manchester United at the age of 16 in 2011, and made his first-team breakthrough at Old Trafford under David Moyes in 2013/14.