How Manchester United fans must wish their current squad had a leader like Rio Ferdinand.
The retired centre-back spent 12 hugely successful years at Old Trafford and was, at his peak, arguably the best defender on the planet. He gave his all for the team every week and was a true winner.
When Adnan Januzaj broke into United’s first team during the 2013-14 campaign, he had the likes of Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs to look up to and learn from. But this meant standards were extremely high - as the young winger discovered.
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Ferdinand has revealed that he told Adnan to “sit down” and go back to training with the club’s youngsters - jokingly, we assume - after the Belgian challenged him for his title as United’s “best two-touch player”.
“I was named, officially, the best two-touch player, you know like you do keepy-ups,” the retired defender told Squawka. “Me and Scholesy, and me and Cristiano [Ronaldo] used to do it religiously before matches in the changing room.
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“I used to beat all of them. Scholesy obviously knows that and he wouldn’t tell you otherwise. Me and Cristiano, there used to be those bikes, 10 bikes lined up in a row, and he used to go one side and we’d play two-three touch over them. It used to be blinding.
“Adnan Januzaj tried to come in when all those guys retired or had left but he got told to sit down and go back and do a youth training scheme before he coming back into the arena.”
Januzaj's confidence dented under Van Gaal
In fairness, if Ferdinand was beating the likes of Scholes and Ronaldo, we’re not quite sure what Januzaj was thinking challenging the defender to a game of two-touch.
You have to admire his confidence, mind.
Januzaj’s confidence has taken a bit of a battering since David Moyes was replaced by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014.
The 21-year-old was superb during his breakthrough campaign, under Moyes, but hasn’t been shown the same faith by Van Gaal - despite being handed the iconic No. 11 shirt, which had been vacated by Giggs.
Tuchel criticised Januzaj after BVB exit
Januzaj was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund at the start of this season but that also failed to work out, with Thomas Tuchel criticising the youngster’s attitude.
"I never had the feeling Adnan was here with his whole heart, but rather that a part of him stayed in Manchester and compared everything with Man United," the Dortmund coach told Sport Bild, per ESPN.
"We were not able to help him let go of it. Sadly, he wasn't in it with the motivation and attitude you need to further yourself at this age."
Will Januzaj leave United this summer?
Januzaj returned to Old Trafford in January but has failed to re-establish his status as a first-team regular, leading to speculation that he could leave United in the summer.
Many United fans, however, remain cautiously optimistic that the best is still to come from this huge talent.
Should Adnan Januzaj leave Man Utd this summer? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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