Belgium coach says Januzaj must earn his spot back at Manchester United

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Marc Wilmots has told Belgian youngster Adnan Januzaj that in order to be reinstated at the national team level, he must first do so at the club.

The 20-year-old was left off the roster for Euro qualifying matches against Cyprus and Israel this international window, and the boss told him that he can only return if he sees the Old Trafford pitch more often.

“I have no doubt about his qualities,” Wilmots said after they torched Cyprus 5-0. “But he only has few opportunities to show his qualities. I must stay correct with the other players. Players like Yannick Ferreira-Carrasco, Dries Mertens and Nacer Chadli are starters at their club. The competition for this position is very high. The only reason he is not here is that he plays too little. It’s a decision I make now. Maybe in two months it’s another story.”

Januzaj made 27 Premier League showings for 1,645 minutes last year under David Moyes, but this season, Louis van Gaal has handed the young winger just 16 appearances for 767 minutes. There were rumors this January that Moyes wanted Januzaj to come on loan at Real Sociedad where the former Red Devils manager is now leading the way, but the loan deal never materialized due to injury concerns for van Gaal, and Januzaj stayed.

The youngster did manage to get game time this week…for the Manchester United U-19 squad against Monaco in the Nike Academy Cup, which United won 3-0.

Januzaj was a part of Belgium’s World Cup squad that defeated the United States on its way to a quarterfinal appearance. He has five national team caps officially, even though he’s played in six matches, because on his debut against Luxembourg, Wilmots made seven substitutes instead of the maximum six allowed by FIFA, causing the governing body to scrap the match from its official records.