As a teenager, Adnan Januzaj sprang onto the scene with some unbelievable displays for Manchester United during United’s otherwise terrible 2013-14 season under David Moyes.
Whenever he got the ball, everyone expected something to happen and he amazed the United crowds with his skills, quick feet, vision and eye for goal.
In his first start for the club, the then 18-year-old Januzaj scored twice at the Stadium of Light as United came from behind to defeat Sunderland 2-1. The Belgian was rewarded for his exciting performances by being offered a new five-year contract, which he signed in that same month.
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However he didn’t get a lot of first-team football last season and manager Louis van Gaal seems unsure as to which position to play Adnan in, which has fuelled speculation of a possible loan move away from Old Trafford, with Sunderland reportedly interested.
WHERE CAN HE PLAY?
The coaches who have worked with Adnan from a very young age at the club have labelled him as a playmaker and see his long-term future in the no. 10 role, but he enjoyed his most successful spell in the team playing out on the wings which shows his versatility.
As Van Gaal toyed with a 3-5-2 formation in his debut season in charge, there seemed to be no natural spot for Januzaj to fill with the youngster appearing in positions all over the pitch from central midfield to wing-back.
At the start of the summer, Van Gaal admitted that he was considering converting the Belgian into a striker and during United’s recent pre-season tour of America the Dutchman deployed Januzaj as a striker and he impressed in the role, showing lots of movement, linking up the play well and scoring a goal in a victory over Champions League holders Barcelona.
Despite Van Gaal being undecided on where to play Januzaj, it’s reported that he views United’s no. 11 as a capable understudy to captain and first-choice centre forward Wayne Rooney.
One thing that isn’t doubted is the immense natural ability that Adnan Januzaj possesses.
Even though Januzaj is raw and could improve his decision-making, which would lead to him losing possession of the ball less frequently, the United supporters have shown a lot of patience with him seeing as he’s come up through the ranks at the club and because the Belgian is willing to take people on, beat his man and take risks on the pitch.
He’s already proved that he’s good enough to play for Manchester United and is deserving of more minutes on the pitch, and should he continue to work hard, improve all aspects of his game and establish himself in the squad, Januzaj can certainly be the fast, creative attacker that Van Gaal feels he needs.