Adnan Januzaj burst on the Premier League scene last season under former Manchester United manager David Moyes. The attacking midfielder was initially signed by Sir Alex Ferguson from Anderlecht in March 2011 and was eventually called up to United’s senior squad towards the end of the 2012-13 league campaign. Januzaj remained an unused substitute during that season, but the Belgian has been earmarked for success since his arrival at Old Trafford.
He was awarded the Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year in 2013 before being recalled to the first team by David Moyes last season.
In October 2013, Januzaj scored twice to help United come from behind to beat Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, a match that would announce his presence on the English scene.
In the weeks following that match, Januzaj would show moments of brilliance which put the 19-year-old on the radar of a handful of Europe’s big clubs. In an effort to stave off interest from other sides, United agreed to improve the teenager’s contact and extend the terms of his agreement for another five years.
His inclusion into a national team became the subject of debate, since he and his parents had affiliations to a handful of European countries (Belgium, Albania, Turkey and Kosovo). After initially refusing call-ups to their senior squad, Januzaj would ultimately choose to represent Belgium on the international level. Since that decision, the Belgian has made three appearances for his country.
Januzaj is undoubtedly a talent, with the potential to be a top class player on the domestic and European stages. He is a ‘floating’ midfielder who can play centrally or out-wide and possesses the ability to drift into the gaps. He has excellent vision, awareness and has the knack of instinctively seeking out space and angles amongst opposing defenders. Speculation is his best position may be as a number 10.
During his first season with United’s senior squad, the most impressive thing about the teenager was that he never appeared to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the event. While other prospects have struggled to adapt to the Premier League and new teammates; Januzaj showed the inventiveness and daring of a young player, but also the poise and decision-making of a mature footballer. He not only fit in with his United teammates, his counterparts seemed reliant on the young Belgian to help them win games.
A number of young players are hyped up by the English media, only later to be exposed as overrated flashes in the pan. But Januzaj looked to be the goods.