It couldn’t have gotten any worse for Manchester United, when after having lost consecutive matches against Manchester City and West Bromwich Albion, it was down 0-1 at half-time against Sunderland. The most fabled and successful club in Football history was staring at yet another unceremonious exit from the race for the Premier League Trophy. David Moyes, the team manager, was in a precarious position, with discontent growing over the successive dismal performances of the club. The second half started with anxious fans awaiting the fate of their beloved club with bated breath.
Adnan Januzaj is a special talent from Belgium
Lots of anxious moments followed and a gruelling ten minutes later, a goal! A young debutant of just eighteen had scored for the behemoth club, and was greeted by raucous, delirious cheers from the stands. Just six minutes later, another one followed and the stadium erupted in ecstasy. Manchester united triumphed over Sunderland because of the surreal performance exhibited by a debutant! The whole world of FIFA looked with awe at this young scrawny lad, a promising prodigy named Adnan Januzaj. That was in 2013.
Hailing from Belgium, Adnan was drafted into Man. United at 16 when he impressed Sir. Alex Ferguson at the Brussels trials. Since then, until 18, he had been a part of the B-team at Man. United, being honed for glory. During this time, he won numerous accolades for his feats. At first, David Moyes introduced Adnan to pro-football as a substitute to test the waters. Later on, with his spectacular debut, Adnan turned into an overnight sensation, with all clubs keen on signing him. But, Man. United pre-empted that with a smart move, securing Adnan for themselves with a five-year contract.
A winger for Man
United, Adnan is fabled for his fine technique and also has a notorious reputation for diving. He holds the ignoble record for the most number of dives in a season. But, for all that, the lad from Belgium is much vaunted for the value he brings to the team on the field. At the start of the 2014-2015 season, Adnan was allotted the legendary No.11 jersey, widely seen as a sign of Adnan being touted as the most promising player, as a replacement for the retired Ryan Griggs.
With club football on one hand, Adnan was fiercely pursued by the Belgian national football team coach on the other, who wanted to sign up this rising star for the nation. There was some controversy as Adnan hailed from a mixed Albanian-Kosovo background and expressed his wish to play for Albania. But, it turned out that Adnan couldn’t play for Albania as he wasn’t born or brought up as a naturalised citizen of Albania. After refusing to sign up for the Belgian team for over a year, Adnan finally relented at the start of 2014 when he became a part of the Belgian team. He made six appearances from then on, at friendlies and at the world cup. Unfortunately though, he didn’t score a single goal. The 2014-2015 season turned out to be pretty dry for Adnan. After more than one full season without a goal, Adnan finally scored for Man United at Aston Villa, which came as a bit of solace.
Eventually, Adnan was loaned to Borussia Dortmund at the start of the next season. But, here too, Adnan failed to break the jinx, not scoring even a single goal in twelve appearances and returned to Man United after just a five-month stint as against the agreed loan for the entire season. Thomas Tuchel, the Borussia Dortmund coach attributed it to this, ‘A part of Adnan was always with Man United. He didn’t live up to his full potential. He was always comparing things here with how they were at Man United’. The initial charm and promise shown by Adnan, which made the soccer world gape in adulation, has given way to scepticism, now that the footballer has been going through a rough time for over two years. Jose Mourinho, the present manager at Man United, has acknowledged that the youngster has immense potential but has to overcome attitude problems.
A prodigy teeming with potential, Adnan has yet to find his form. There’s no doubting his potential, though it remains to be seen if he can strike the balance and rise to the challenge. Until then, here’s to hoping that we get to see more of Adnan and some spectacular football.