Lets rewind twenty months. In the midst of the shocking decline of Manchester United, under the stewardship of the hapless David Moyes, there was one shining beacon of hope for the beleaguered fans.
It was not David de Gea´s match-winning saves, or Wayne Rooneys goal-return that was cause for this excitement.
That ray of light in an otherwise dismal season was a skinny 18-year-old, with the world at his feet. His name was Adnan Januzaj, and he was already touted as a future great.
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Such was his potential that Paris Saint-Germain lodged a £40 million bid to acquire his services. Gazzetta dello Sport named him the best player in the world under twenty.
Inevitably given his position as a tricky attacking winger, the comparisons with a certain Cristiano Ronaldo were quickly made. United fans everywhere were convinced they had a precocious prodigy worthy of the legendary no.7 shirt.
Indeed there was a clamour for him to take the jersey, following Valencia´s abdication.
Eight months later Januzaj found himself part of the United team that capitulated against third-tier MK Dons in a League Cup third round tie. A change at the helm had seen a new coach arrive in the shape of Louis Van Gaal.
The new coach was livid with his team's performance. Danny Welbeck and Shinji Kagawa were promptly sold, and Javier Hernandez was exiled to Madrid for the season. After that ill-fated night Januzaj found himself out in the cold and frequently failed to even make the bench.
As Van Gaal began to implement his much-vaunted philosophy on the team, it appeared that there was no place for the young Belgian's unpredictable talent. If superstar Angel Di Maria could not curry favour with the notoriously strict Dutchman, what hope was there for Januzaj.
Many began to predict that the youngster would be another from the Carrington production-line to be off-loaded, after flattering to deceive.
Rather than shirk the challenge, as many before him had done, Januzaj took what his manager had to say on-board. Along with team-mate Luke Shaw, he spent his summer holiday training and bulking-up for the season ahead.
That hard work paid off when he was given half-an-hour to prove himself in a pre-season friendly, against the mighty Barcelona.
One well-taken goal that balmy evening in the States saw his manager revise his opinion of the young Belgian and the youngster found himself promoted to the starting line-up against Aston Villa.
A match-winning goal that Friday night saw his stock rise further, despite his managers criticism.
Second-season syndrome has afflicted some of the best players, as they struggle to live up to the hype. But there is a maxim. 'Form is temporary, Class is permanent'. This season could see Januzaj prove that to be true.
Manchester United fans, can Adnan Januzaj become a mainstay in the team this season? Have your say below!
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