Manchester United’s season thus far has been anything but spectacular. David Moyes is yet to figure out his best squad and the team is struggling to not only score goals, but to prevent them. With a tough fixture list to start the season, the players needed to step up, which they have not done. In this disappointing start to the season that reached new lows with the loss to West Brom, there are positives to be taken, albeit slight. Wayne Rooney has seemed up to the task, and Nani has been United’s best winger despite few opportunities.
The best sign for United, though, has come from their exciting young Belgian, Adnan Januzaj. Despite only managing a few substitute appearances this season, Januzaj looks to possess impressive natural talent and prowess, and has made the most of his opportunities under Moyes. To see this, you need only to look at his performances in both the Premier League and Carling Cup, where he has continued his good pre-season form that earned him praise from staff and supporters alike.
Against Crystal Palace, the winger made an immediate impression when subbed on, using ball control and trickery to control the left wing. His introduction was a breath of fresh air for the team who were struggling to produce in the final third, and although Manchester United failed to capitalize on his created chances, it was still a great performance nonetheless, especially for an 18 year old with limited first team experience.
In the League Cup win against Liverpool, Moyes again used Januzaj from the substitute’s bench. Coming into a tight game against a surprisingly strong Liverpool team considering the competition, the teenager was solid. His natural dribbling ability was on show as he made multiple creative runs down the wing, and his overall play proved that he was not at all fazed by the situation.
Given a whole second half against West Brom on Saturday, which surely showed a trust in youth by David Moyes, Adnan made his strongest attempt at nailing down future first team opportunities. His play reminded many of a young Ryan Giggs or Cristiano Ronaldo, as Januzaj radiated confidence. In tight areas he demanded the ball, and tried to carve out chances. At the end of the game, he still took on West Brom’s defense, even in areas where some young players may feel the need to give the ball to their more experienced teammates.
Again, it’s only three substitute appearances, and Januzaj is far from perfect; he still needs to work on his passing game and retaining possession for example, but at a point in the season where Manchester United are struggling to establish themselves, he has proven himself to be a talented prospect. And with Nani being the only winger performing, now may be the time for him to see more action. Whatever David Moyes chooses to do though, Adnan Januzaj has made a case for being a strong part of Manchester United’s squad this season, and in the ones that follow afterwards.