It’s so easy to hype a player beyond all recognition when he first comes onto the scene. Predictions about a talented youngster, however, can be based on hope as much as any form shown on the field of play.
Remember Kieran Richardson, Zoran Tosic, Bebe, Liam miller and Gabriel Obertan? All players who made their first appearances at Manchester United amidst a swell of excitement – their every touch scrutinised.
Although some of those guys have gone on to have decent careers none went on to make their names at Manchester United.
The latest exciting youngster to make the initial breakthrough is of course Adnan Januzaj.
His performance in the game at Sunderland last autumn cemented Manchester United fans’ feelings about a player who had given such an exciting cameo at Old Trafford a week or so earlier.
Januzaj scored two goals that day to win the match for Manchester United. One would have been special but two threw a blinding light on the lad. He seemed to have perfect balance, two feet of almost equal quality, time on the ball and a penchant for the unusual that separates great players from good ones. He also loved to dribble. With this skill set the mind couldn’t help but reference George Best.
Of course it’s easier to find space when no one knows your game. While Januzaj has remained one of the better players in his debut season, he hasn’t wowed as often as some would have envisaged. Indeed David Moyes has pulled him back from the spotlight of late.
He could have been described as a first eleven player through the winter but that coincided with some of Manchester United’s most abject form. While he hasn’t been blamed for that his omission marked a slight improvement in the team performances.
We do feel that Januzaj is a cut above the others that we mentioned above. There is a self-belief – an arrogance running through him which makes you feel confident that he can be a valuable squad member.
He does need to grow physically into the demands of this league. And, while he’s no slouch, we think that his lack of blistering pace may preclude him from becominng a conventional wide man in England. That said David Beckham wasn’t the quickest and noone would doubt his value to Manchester United.
If we had to make a call about Januzaj we would give the thumbs up. He’s got such composure, invention and reading of the game that you feel, with the right coaching, he can become a player who can do substantial damage for Manchester United on a weekly basis – rather than just the fleeting brilliance that we have seen hitherto.
While Adnan may never bewitch in quite the same way as Best he’s already a player who can totally embarrass celebrated seniors and if he works on his pace and physique we could be looking at a player of the highest calibre in a couple of years.
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