Adnan Januzaj and Luke Shaw: Tender feet, big-stage talent
Freshly brewed: Young guns Adnan Januzaj of Belgium and England's Luke Shaw have got unexpected call-ups on the back of strong performances in the English Premier League. Will they make good on the promise?sports Updated: Jun 01, 2014 00:19 IST
Adnan Januzaj’s rise has stood out in sharp contrast to his club Manchester United’s calamitous showing in a season of record lows. His performances for the English giants were such that it convinced Belgium coach Marc Wilmots to give the 19-year-old winger surprise World Cup call-up, a chance he will be relishing.
The youngster’s brief career at Old Trafford has already earned him many accolades.
“Adnan is the kind of player who could light up a World Cup, whether that is starting games or off the bench,” said one-time United team-mate Ryan Giggs, who has just retired. “He floats with the ball effortlessly. He is just one of those players you love watching.”
Januzaj chose to play international football for Belgium despite also being eligible to represent Albania, Turkey, Serbia and non-Fifa-affiliated Kosovo.
The skillful left-footed player made his debut in United’s Community Shield win over Wigan last August and he has since gone on to make 29 appearances and score four goals. He would be part of an exciting Belgian set-up featuring the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany. It is to be seen what king of chances he gets and what role he plays for a team that has genuine hopes of progressing to the later stages.
Fuelling future hopes
At only 18, Luke Shaw’s call-up to the biggest stage may have come a bit too early, but he belongs to a group of players on whom future world cup dreams will be built upon.
The attacking left-back had a wonderful season for a buoyant Southampton side and coach Roy Hodgson has decided to pick youth over experience in choosing the Saints left-back over veteran Ashley Cole.