United Youngster In Line to Emulate Rooney After Award Nomination

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By Nick Howson | December 3, 2013 8:03 PM EST

Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj is in line to emulate Wayne Rooney after being surprisingly nominated for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year award.

Januzaj is the highest profile inclusion on the shortest which compiles Britain's brightest sporting talents who were aged 17 or under at the start of 2013.

Rooney claimed the award in 2002 after becoming the then youngster player to win a senior England cap and score in the Premier League.

Athletes Dina Ashes-Smith, Jessica Judd and Isaac Towers are among the shortlist, as are swimming duo James Guy and Amy Marren.

European tour golfer Charley Hull, European weightlift record holder Rebekah Tiler, World Cup winning canoeist Kimberley and champion shooter Amber Hill complete the 10-person list.

The prestigious award, won by Paralympic swimmer Josef Craig in 2012 and previously by the likes of Tom Daley, Ellie Simmonds and Theo Walcott will be presented on 15 December with the nominee list reduced to three on 12 December.

The nomination of Januzaj reopens the debate regarding his international allegiance. The 18 year old is eligible to represent Albania, Belgium, Croatia, Serbia, Turkey and Kosovo at international level, but the Football Association have explored the possibility of him representing England in 2018.

Januzaj has turned down numerous offers to train with the Belgium national side and after being nominated for a purely British award, questions over his international preference are expected to be asked once again.

The Belgian-born winger marked his first professional start for United with two goals to beat Sunderland in the Premier League and has become the latest player to break-through from the club's much famed academy.

United boss David Moyes, who pledged to promote players from the academy upon his appointment, says Januzaj is among the brightest talents he's managed.

"I remember giving Wayne his debut, and Ross Barkley, and Adnan is certainly that quality. He is a top, top player," Moyes told Sky Sports"My plan was to play him three or four weeks ago but I never quite got the opportunity and for different reasons I didn't pick him, and I thought today was the right time.

"He has been so good, it was hard to stop him.

"He is going to be a special talent. He has got goals, he has got ability on the ball, but we will keep his feet on the ground here."

The award for the Young Sports Personality of the Year award will be presented on the same evening as the main award, for which Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is the favourite.

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