Manchester United David Moyes was wise to point out the inconsistency of officials towards his young starlet Adnan Januzaj after the 3-0 victory over Aston Villa on Sunday. However the youngster will need to learn to toughen up as so many before him have.
“I think in every game recently, I don’t know how many tackles have been on Januzaj. That’s why I’m annoyed with the fourth officials and the referees – before you know it the boy will get a sore one because he is definitely not getting protected by the officials.
“It’s terrible what they are allowing to go on at the moment. This boy is an incredible talent, it’s not necessarily the same player but I think they are queuing up and taking turns about who is going to kick him next. There were that many tackles on him from different players and I think it’s something that referees are going to have to think about. They are queuing up to kick him.”
Januzaj and Moyes should look no further than Ryan Giggs to provide an example for how to cope with this sort of treatment. In Giggs’ first few seasons with Manchester United, opponents resorted to every sort of cynical fouling to slow down the pacy winger. But in time Giggs expanded his repertoire of moves on the ball while becoming tougher both physically and mentally.
In Giggs, Januzaj not only has a potential mentor that has been a great player, but one who has been through the same sort of abuse as the young Kosovar now faces. In his expanded role as an assistant coach, Giggs can provide the type of mentorship and guidance for the youngest players in the United squad, while giving them a potential confidante when frustrated with the manager.
David Moyes made some mistakes in his backroom decisions when taking the Red Devils job. Most significant among these was the failure to retain Mike Phelan and René Meulensteen. However his decision to elevate Giggs gives the club the opportunity to properly mentor young players like Januzaj and others.
Ultimately, Adnan Januzaj will need to toughen up but it is a process Ryan Giggs can play a key role in.
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