NUHIU HAS AL­BA­NIA WON­DER­ING ´WHAT IF?´

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Char­lie Tal­bot-Smith

AD­NAN JANUZAJ, the Manch­ester United star who this week snubbed Eng­land by declar­ing his al­le­giance to Bel­gium, has one thing in com­mon with Sh­effield Wed­nes­day’s At­dhe Nuhiu.

They have both turned their backs on play­ing for their na­tive Al­ba­nia.

Nuhiu had a choice to make over his in­ter­na­tional fu­ture, hav­ing been born in the for­mer so­cial­ist state of Yu­goslavia.

The 24-year-old Nuhiu grew up in Pristina, the cap­i­tal of the state of Kosovo, largely made up of an Al­ba­nian pop­u­la­tion.

But the striker has spent most of his ca­reer in Aus­tria, start­ing as a 16year-old for FC Wels be­fore mov­ing on to Aus­tria Kärn­ten and Rapid Vi­enna be­fore the Owls came call­ing last sum­mer.

Januzaj’s com­bi­na­tion of fam­ily her­itage and res­i­den­tial is­sues meant a num­ber of coun­tries, in­clud­ing Eng­land, could lay claim to his ser­vices.

For Nuhiu, a for­mer Aus­tria U21 in­ter­na­tional, the de­ci­sion ap­peared much sim­pler, but it was still tough to say no to the coun­try of his birth.

“Quite a few of us have had to make this de­ci­sion, Xher­dan Shaqiri and Valon Behrami have cho­sen Switzer­land,” said Nuhiu.

“It is dif­fer­ent for ev­ery player, but I think Ad­nan, like me, has made the right choice.

“Al­ba­nia would have a very good team if it had worked out the right way, but it will be a while be­fore they reach the next level.

“It’s dif­fi­cult to turn down your home­land, but Aus­tria is where I have made my ca­reer, I have played for them since the U17s.

“Now I am in good form I hope there is a chance for me to get in­volved with the se­nior na­tional team.”

Nuhiu’s form of late could cer­tainly war­rant an in­ter­na­tional call-up. Four goals in three games prior to this weekend has steered Wed­nes­day clear of rel­e­ga­tion trou­ble.

More im­por­tantly for Nuhiu, his new­found form has helped him find a new home in South York­shire.

Adapt

“I am pleased the goals are com­ing, I feel like it is re­ward for all my hard work,” he added.

“Since I ar­rived at the club it has been dif­fi­cult, you have to adapt to a new style of foot­ball to feel com­fort­able and that al­ways takes time.

“But I have worked hard, even when the goals were not com­ing and I was not in the team, and now fi­nally it is start­ing to hap­pen.

“But there are 11 men on the pitch and, while I have scored the goals, it is not pos­si­ble with­out them.

“If we can start next sea­son the way we have fin­ished this one then we are a team with real po­ten­tial.

“It is im­por­tant we can hold on to guys like Chris Kirk­land, Glenn Loovens – they are ex­pe­ri­enced and are very im­por­tant to the team.

“This is a great club with great sup­port and it is time that we were back in the Pre­mier League, and, hope­fully, my goals can con­tinue next year and I can help the team some more.”

IN FINE FORM: At­dhe Nuhiu’s goals have helped to se­cure safety for Sh­effield Wed­nes­day In­set: Ad­nan Januzaj

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