Adnan Januzaj
Januzaj called into Belgium's preliminary 27 man squad.GettyImages

Belgium manager Marc Wilmots has included Adnan Januzaj in his preliminary World Cup squad and hinted the Manchester United youngster could make the final 23 in place of the injured Christian Benteke.

After being coveted by Albania, Turkey, Kosovo, Serbia and England, the 19-year-old recently decided to commit his international future to Belgium, the country of his birth.

Januzaj has enjoyed a breakout season for United where he has been one of the few positives to emerge from a dismal campaign but has seen his first team opportunities dry up in recent months.

However, Wilmots has indicated that will not discourage him from selecting the youngster, particularly given the absence of Aston Villa striker Benteke who will miss the World Cup finals in Brazil after suffering a cruciate ligament injury.

"Adnan has played 27 games for Man United. He has showed his qualities," Wilmots told Het Laatste Niews, Sky Sports report. "He can play on the wing; he can play as a striker. That's interesting as Christian Benteke will be unavailable due to injury.

"The fact I pick him in my initial 27-man squad for Brazil is normal, given his performances but I first want to see how he behaves on the training pitch.

"I will select a squad for 26-27 players and I shall tell them: "There's only one truth: the pitch. Come on, show me what you got."

Januzaj is likely to be given opportunities to impress his national team coach in Belgium's opening warm up games against Luxemburg and Sweden. The final 23 will be announced on 2 June when the 19-year-old could be one of 11 Premier League-based players to be make the trip to Brazil.

After much speculation regarding his international future that has lasted the course of the season, Wilmots also revealed Januzaj informed him of his decision after the Belgium boss signed a contract extension earlier this year.

"On the 22nd of January, when United played against Sunderland, I talked to his dad for the first time. Together with his agent, Dirk De Vriese. We had a good conversation, but I asked them to let me know on the 31st of April if Adnan was eligible for the World Cup," he added.

"I've put no pressure on them, but after my contract extension, a few weeks ago, they've called me to say they'd made up their mind and it is a wonderful thing.

"Adnan chose a country where there's a lot of competition. The more competition, the better. But he has no guarantees - who knows me, knows I never give them."