Adnan Januzaj comes of age
Football is rife with players of great potential who squandered it all. Paul Gascoigne is an extreme case in which he presents a real danger to himself and others. Meanwhile, the former Manchester United youngster Ravel Morrison went from being heralded as the most talented player to emerge from the Academy since Paul Scholes, to [?]
Football is rife with players of great potential who squandered it all. Paul Gascoigne is an extreme case in which he presents a real danger to himself and others. Meanwhile, the former Manchester United youngster Ravel Morrison went from being heralded as the most talented player to emerge from the Academy since Paul Scholes, to being sold on the cheap to Sam Allardyce.
By contrast, “between the ages of sixteen and twenty,” Gary Neville “dropped women completely” to focus on football and enjoyed more years at the top than his more talented brother. As with everything, attitude is key in the making of a footballer.
There are circumstances outside of the youngster’s control that determines his future too. With Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand in their prime, Gerard Piqué failed to break into the first team. Jonny Evans, despite being less gifted than the Barcelona defender, enjoyed regular games in 2008-09 due to Ferdinand being consistently injured. The road to stardom is long and winding.
Which is a nice segue into the hot prospect of the moment, Adnan Januzaj. The teenager arrived from Belgium aged just 16. United brought him to Manchester after the Belgian impressed the scouts with his technical skills in 2011. His progress has been steady – the former Anderlecht forward enjoyed an excellent campaign at under-21 level and ended last season as the Reserve Player of the Year.
Able to play across attacking midfield positions, Januzaj has excelled in a variety of roles at Moss Lane and continued his form in pre-season games. With Antonio Valencia, Luis Nani and Ashley Young in poor form, the 18-year-old is justified in looking to “get some games for the first team” this season.
Reports suggest that Janunzaj is of sound personality. Put into an unfamiliar striking role last season, by coaches seeking to develop his physical attributes, the youngster managed to adapt without complaint.
And unlike Morrison, who often graced major newspapers with his antics, Januzaj has stayed out of trouble. Sir Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Warren Joyce all consider the Albanian-born player to be professional in his behavior. He is also willing to listen to others and seek advice. “Every time I need to ask something, I go to Giggs,” said the youngster recently.
Defying the gifted young forward stereotype, Januzaj is fairly tall at 5’11”. He has a wiry frame, but he is decent in the air and shields the ball very well. The 18-year-old also possesses excellent balance which makes it extremely hard for defenders to push him off the ball.
He offers great pace and his balance allows the Belgian to make sharp turns at speed. Although he needs to add strength to his arsenal, it would appear Januzaj is more than ready to handle the physical aspects of the Premier League.
Januzaj relies on his pace and ability to make sharp turns to leave behind opposition players, but he also has well-developed technical skills enabling the kid to dribble past defenders. He is very adept at handling the ball in close quarters with an excellent first touch.
The teenager’s passing is also impressive, and he has the vision to greet runners with a ball played into space. It is this ability to make searching through balls that defies Januzaj’s inexperience.