Belgium coach Marc Wilmots has included uncapped Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj in his World Cup squad, just three weeks after the teenager declared his allegiance to the country. He is one of 12 Premier League players in Marc Wilmots’s 24-man squad.
The 19-year-old was born in Brussels to Kosovan-Albanian parents and was able to pick several nations for international duty, including Kosovo, Albania, Turkey, Serbia or, potentially in the future, England but opted for Belgium in April.
Wilmots said: “He is a top talent and has such exceptional qualities. He can play several positions.” Januzaj will be joined by another 19-year-old, forward Divock Origi of French team Lille. Wilmots included Origi after Aston Villa forward Christian Benteke ruptured his achilles tendon last month. “He has great potential,” Wilmots said. “He has Benteke’s profile. It is easy to target him.”
Wilmots announced a 24-man team, but said the number of goalkeepers would be reduced from four to three based on the availability of Koen Casteels. Belgium will face Russia, South Korea and Algeria in Group H.
Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Koen Casteels (Hoffenheim), Silvio Proto (Anderlecht)
Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur)
Midfielders: Nacer Chadli (Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin De Bruyne (VfL Wolfsburg), Steven Defour (Porto), Mousa Dembele (Tottenham Hotspur), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg)
Forwards: Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Divock Origi (Lille)
Stand-by: Michy Batshuayi (Standard Liege), Guillaume Gillet (Anderlecht), Thorgan Hazard (Zulte Waregem), Radja Nainggolan (AS Roma), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hanover 96), Jelle Van Damme (Standard Liege)