There weren’t too many positives during David Moyes’ ill-fated spell at Manchester United, but the emergence of Adnan Januzaj was certainly one of them.
The Belgian winger announced himself to the world with two goals on his first Premier League start for the Red Devils, against Sunderland, and continued to impress with his talent and maturity as the season progressed.
Moyes, around nine months after he was sacked by United, paid Januzaj the highest possible compliment by comparing him to Dutch legend Johan Cruyff.
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"He possesses a level of self-assured arrogance, which is a positive as he's not too arrogant. On the contrary, he's a bright lad who is mature for his age,” Moyes told Goal.
"He's a wonderfully gifted player with great balance and the ability to go past people. When I see his poise on the ball, he has characteristics of Johan Cruyff."
Nicky Butt: Januzaj has had too much too soon
Januzaj’s career has unfortunately stagnated over the past couple of years, like Moyes’s, and the pair of them now find themselves reunited at Sunderland.
But why, exactly, has Januzaj failed to progress in the manner in which so many people expected he would?
Nicky Butt, who currently works as the head of coaching at United’s youth academy, believes he might have the answer.
However, the ‘Class of ’92’ member admits it would be sad if Januzaj doesn't return to the club next year.
Butt believes it was the right decision by Jose Mourinho to offload the likes of Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett, Donald Love and Will Keane this summer, but insists he would be disappointed if Januzaj leaves the club on a permanent basis.
“It doesn’t hurt me as much as, say, if Adnan Januzaj went and never came back,” Butt told the Times when asked about the other youngsters who have recently left Old Trafford. “He’s got the level to play for United and win leagues and Champions Leagues. Maybe he’s not been as dedicated, a case of too much too soon, a millionaire now.”
Butt wants trust funds introduced for young stars
Too much too soon is a common cause of young footballers failing to fulfil their potential and Butt believes it would be beneficial if the majority of their earnings went into a trust fund first.
“I’d definitely bring in trust funds,” the former midfielder added. “When we first signed our contracts at 17, I remember [chairman] Martin Edwards and the manager [Alex Ferguson] said: ‘You’re having a grand a week, and the rest will be put away.’ The rest was put with an accountant who still works for all of us now. It was the best thing that ever happened.
“Some kids now come up and expect things too soon — and get given it too soon. It’s the fear factor of losing him to another club and end up losing a £50 million player. For the sake of an extra £4,000 a week.”
Januzaj is impressing at Sunderland
Januzaj’s confidence has clearly suffered a huge blow over the past couple of years but he now finds himself working under a manager who believes in him again.
The 21-year-old has impressed during his first few weeks on loan at the Stadium of Light and if he can continue shining between now and the end of the season then Butt’s wish of seeing Januzaj back in a United shirt might well be granted.
Does Adnan Januzaj still have a future at Manchester United? Have your say by leaving a comment below.