Adnan Januzaj: Player analysis of the latest bright talent at Manchester United
A brief look at what the 18-year-old has already achieved
He may be the latest shining talent to emerge at Old Trafford, but how much do you know about Adnan Januzaj?
The winger made his first Premier League start for Manchester United, becoming just the second to score a brace on his first Premier league start for the Red Devils after former striker Ruud van Nistlerooy.
Having joined the club for £500,000 from his childhood side Anderlecht at the age of 16 in 2011, he rose through the youth ranks, becoming the Manchester United Reserve’s player of the year last season.
His impressive performances caught the eye of former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, becoming the last ever player to be called up by Fergie for the first time when he was selected among the substitutes in the 5-5 final day draw with West Brom last season, although he failed to get onto the pitch.
But he went on to make his competitive debut for the club in the Community Shield victory at Wembley against Wigan in August this year, when he replaced Robin van Persie in the 84th minute.
Januzaj went on to make three more appearances from the bench before Moyes decided to throw him in at the deep end, naming the 18-year-old in his starting line-up to face Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.
But he took it all within his stride, dragging back the reigning Premier League champions from the brink with two goals – the second of which a delightful left-footed volley into the far corner and passed the outstretched Kieran Westwood. In doing so, he became the fifth youngest league goalscorer in United’s history, behind Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck, Rafael and Nick Powell.
His international future though is still up for debate, with a number of countries looking to call-up Januzaj in the hope that he will declare his intent to play for their national side. Despite the obvious choice of Belgium – his homeland – he is also eligible for both Kosovo and Albania due to his parents heritage.
However, England manager Roy Hodgson has expressed his interest in seeing whether Januzaj qualifies for the Three Lions on residency grounds, with the belief that he could play for England from 2016 after spending five years in the country.
Whichever option he chooses, Januzaj appears to have a bright future, although he already has big footsteps to fill as United still look to find the next Cristiano Ronaldo.
A good omen? Both Januzaj and Ronaldo share the same birthday of February 5. An even better one? So do Carlos Tevez and Neymar, although we’re not sure that means definite success just yet.
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