Januzaj playing for Manchester United in 2013
|Full name||Adnan Januzaj|
|Date of birth||5 February 1995|
|Place of birth||Brussels, Belgium|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Current club||Manchester United|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 07:51, 17 February 2014 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Adnan Januzaj (Albanian pronunciation: [adˈnan januˈzaj]; born 5 February 1995) is a professional footballer who plays as a winger for English club Manchester United. Born in Brussels, he began his career with Anderlecht before joining Manchester United in 2011 at the age of 16.
Januzaj was born in Brussels, Belgium, where his Kosovar-Albanian family had migrated in 1992 so his father Abedin could escape Yugoslav Army recruitment. Januzaj's father was the eldest of six children from Istog, Kosovo. Januzaj's uncles, Januz and Shemsedin, were members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, which fought for Kosovar independence in the Kosovo War. Januzaj's mother's family had been deported to Turkey by Yugoslavian authorities under a plan to suppress Albanian nationalism. Since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, Januzaj has regularly visited his extended family in Kosovo during the summer.
Januzaj began his football career with FC Brussels but joined Anderlecht as a 10-year-old in 2005. He left Anderlecht for Manchester United at the age of 16 in March 2011 after impressing in a skills session in Brussels.
Towards the end of the 2012–13 season, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson promoted Januzaj to the first-team and he was registered with the number 44 jersey; he did not feature in the remainder of the season, but he was an unused substitute in the final game of the season away to West Bromwich Albion. For his performances during the season, Januzaj won the 2013 Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year award. He was included in the first-team squad for the 2013–14 pre-season tour of Asia and scored in the final game of the tour against Hong Kong side Kitchee. He also started in Rio Ferdinand's testimonial; United lost 3–1 to Sevilla, but Januzaj provided the assist for United's only goal.
Januzaj made his competitive debut for Manchester United against Wigan Athletic on 11 August 2013 in the Community Shield, coming on for Robin van Persie with six minutes left to play. He made his Premier League debut a month later, coming on as a 68th-minute substitute for Ashley Young in a 2–0 home win over Crystal Palace on 14 September. On 5 October 2013, in what was his first start for the club, Januzaj scored twice as United came from behind to claim a 2–1 victory away to Sunderland. In an effort to stave off interest from other clubs, who could have signed Januzaj for "minimal compensation" on the expiry of his existing contract in June 2014, Manchester United signed Januzaj to a new five-year contract on 19 October 2013. On 3 December 2013, he was nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year, at the time of his nomination, he had played in ten games for Manchester United.
Januzaj was left out of Manchester United's initial squad for the UEFA Champions League when it was registered in September 2013, which came as a surprise to some members of the media after his impressive start to the season. Manager David Moyes later explained this was a tactical decision to allow the club to register an additional player for the competition; as Januzaj had not been with the club long enough to be eligible for the 'List B' squad, which for 2013–14 included any player born after 1 January 1992 who had been eligible to play for the club for at least two years, he would have had to be registered as one of only 25 'List A' players, taking up a space that could have been used by another player. By waiting until 7 October 2013 to register Januzaj, he became eligible as a List B player, but this meant that he could not be selected for the club's first two matches in the competition, at home to Bayer Leverkusen and away to Shakhtar Donetsk. Despite being available from the third game of the tournament, at home to Real Sociedad, Januzaj was left out of both games against the Spanish club and the return match against Bayer Leverkusen. He made his Champions League debut at home to Shakhtar Donetsk on 10 December 2013.
Towards the end of the first half of the 2013–14 season, Januzaj gathered somewhat of a reputation for diving, beginning with a yellow card for a "clear dive" on his full debut against Sunderland in October 2013. He received another booking for simulation against West Ham United in December 2013, going to ground despite West Ham defender James Collins not offering a challenge. His third yellow card – which made him the joint second-most-booked player in the Premier League since sanctions for diving were introduced in 2008 – came against Tottenham Hotspur on 1 January 2014 and was the most contentious of the three; although Januzaj went to ground "easily" under a challenge from Tottenham defender Danny Rose, others are of the opinion that Rose "made no attempt to win the ball" and that Januzaj should not have been booked. David Moyes has admitted speaking to Januzaj about simulation, but he has repeatedly requested that match officials protect the winger from overzealous tackling by opposition defenders.
Januzaj is eligible to represent Belgium through birth and passport, Albania through his ethnic Albanian heritage, Turkey through his grandparents, and Serbia due to the disputed status of his parents' homeland of Kosovo. He is also eligible to represent Kosovo in international football; although Kosovo does not have a FIFA-affiliated senior team, it does have a FIFA-sanctioned youth team that plays in non-FIFA and non-confederation tournaments and exhibition games against full FIFA members. While Januzaj has yet to choose which national team he will represent, he stated in several interviews that his father, Abedin, will make this decision for him.
In June 2013, the former coach of the Belgian Under-18 and Under-19 teams, Marc Van Geersom, declared that Januzaj has refused a call-up to the Belgian team a number of times, since he would prefer to play for Albania.
On 7 October 2013, Wilmots attempted to select Januzaj for the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying games against Croatia and Wales, but Januzaj refused the call-up, saying he still needs to make a choice. In response, Wilmots stated: "I wanted to send him a clear signal. Just as Zakaria Bakkali, Adnan is a very promising youngster and I would like to integrate him into the group. I do not want to force his hand. I respect his choice and consider discussing with Adnan and his family".
On 16 October 2013, discussing rumours that suggested Januzaj would choose to represent Belgium if he is included in the 2014 FIFA World Cup squad, Wilmots declared: "The boy was born in Belgium, should he say that he wants to play for Belgium – from there, there is no haggling. I'm not going to play that game. If you're at the top level in Manchester or elsewhere, show me your skills and if I need you I will call. I make no promises, to Januzaj or any person".
On 17 October 2013, Januzaj's father told Kosovar TV station KTV he did not like the Belgian federation's approach: "I am not blackmailing them as I'm not asking for any national team to get my son. It is them who want Adnan. [...] you have to be professional in this issue. Belgium should follow the rules as well. I run his career in sportive sense, and I have Belgium managers running the legal issues."
Albania's coach, Gianni De Biasi declared on 12 August 2013 that Januzaj is a great talent, and that he and the Albanian federation are waiting for the right moment to talk to him and to call him up for the Albanian national side.
On 17 October 2013, Abedin Januzaj criticised the Albanian FA for its lack of professionalism, stating: "They never called us, the only thing they did was to misinform the public, saying they talked to Januzaj, which is not true."  Following this interview, on 18 October 2013, the Football Association of Albania (FSHF) reiterated its interest in Januzaj in a press statement.
Januzaj's childhood friend and former team-mate Jonathan Kindermans told media about Januzaj's admiration for Lorik Cana as a boy, and believes that Januzaj would choose to play for Albania rather than England or Belgium.
The Football Federation of Kosovo have said that they respect Januzaj's right to decide his international future and that it is not fair to expect a player to represent a nation that cannot play competitive football.
In October 2013, England manager Roy Hodgson stated that The Football Association were monitoring the player with a view to calling him up in the future. However, despite widespread press coverage, Januzaj would not meet the requirements to play for England under the unique rules set out in the Home Nations agreement. The Home Nations agreement requires that players engage in a minimum of five years of education before the age of 18 within the territory of the relevant association and do not offer national team eligibility through residency.
On 17 October 2013, Januzaj's father discussed his son's chances to represent other countries, such as Turkey, Croatia and Serbia: "We have no connections at all with these countries. I have no idea how people think Adnan will engage with Serbia. There is no way that can happen. Probably, people think as many states were part of Yugoslavia they have the right to give citizenship to Adnan. But, Turkey, Serbia or Croatia stand no chance."
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other[nb 1]||Total|
|Manchester United||2013–14||Premier League||19||3||1||0||4||0||1||0||1||0||26||3|
Statistics accurate as of matches played 12 February 2014
- Manchester United
- Includes other competitive competitions, including the FA Community Shield
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