Adnan Januzaj has revealed it was an honour to be handed the iconic No.11 shirt at Manchester United, following in the footsteps of Red Devils legend Ryan Giggs.
Talking to the club’s official website, the young Belgium star insisted that it was a big deal to become the next No.11 after Giggs’s retirement this summer, and confirmed that he had taken on a new responsibility to perform as a result of the change.
Giggs stepped down from playing after a career which saw him notch more appearances for United than anyone in the club’s history. And, though his last season didn’t go the way he might have wanted, he will go down on record as arguably United’s most leal servant.
Now however a new mercurial left-footer is in town, and thankfully for fans he’s as humble as he is promising.
"I was really happy to get the number of such a legend and it was a really big deal for me," Januzaj said.
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"I went to the office and they asked me if I wanted the shirt. I wasn’t going to say no! Straight away I said 'of course' and I didn’t have to think about it. It was a 'yes' straight away.
"I went to the office and they asked me if I wanted the shirt. I wasn’t going to say no! Straight away I said 'of course' and I didn’t have to think about it. It was a 'yes' straight away."
"It feels different. Things have changed because it is a big responsibility to wear the no.11 shirt and having the number of a legend is really big. Ryan has helped me a lot and is like a godfather.
"He has told me to work hard on the training pitch and the rest is more personal. We talk about football a lot."
Following on from his emergence last season the 19-year-old looks to have a place for the future in Louis van Gaal’s setup. David Moyes gave him his opportunity to break into the first-team last term and he took it with aplomb, garnering plaudits from the majority of quarters at Old Trafford.
Yet whereas his introductory term was a time where he could do little wrong due to his raw ability, being handed the No.11 jersey has pushed a new significance upon his performances, and fans could well be far more expectant of him than they were before.
If that is the case then he himself might be worrying over how much first-team game time he’s being afforded in Van Gaal’s new regime.
Competition for places
The spending of over £150million in the summer, and the consequent arrivals of the likes of Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao, has drastically increased the levels of competition for places, and so far Januzaj looks to have become something of a casualty.
His appearances in the Premier League so far this term have come largely from the bench, and it looks as though for the moment at least he faces an uphill battle to force those in front of him from their positions in the pecking order.
The fact remains though that he has the potential to be an integral part of United’s future moving forward, and having started so young there’s every chance that he could follow in Giggs’s footsteps to a certain degree.