Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Adnan Januzaj - Belgian/Kosovan/Albanian/English(?) Wonderkid

Adnan Januzaj, the 19 year old Manchester United man has been one of the few bright sparks in a season where they have woefully underperformed in a period of transition in David Moyes' first season in charge at the club. Capable of playing in a number of roles across the front of the midfield, he has become an instant fan favourite thanks to his bold attacking play and fearless approach to the game for such a tender age, reminding the supporters on the terrace of a young Ryan Giggs in the way he is a left footed lad who can ghost past defenders.

Brought in from Belgian side Anderlecht at the age of 16 for a nominal fee, he impressed in the United youth ranks with a series of good performances. In Sir Alex Ferguson's final game in charge, a stunning 5-5 draw away to West Brom, Januzaj was named on the subs bench showing what significant progress he had made within the first two years of joining the club. Under Moyes, Januzaj has featured very regularly for the first team since making his senior debut in the Community Shield victory over FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic. Arguably his best performance to date was in the 2-1 win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. He scored twice in what was his first start for the club, the second a superbly struck left foot volley that found its way into the bottom corner. With his contract due to expire in the summer of 2014, he signed a new 5 year deal at Old Trafford, making sure the fans did not suffer a repeat of the Paul Pogba affair. Pogba was allowed to leave at the end of his contract after refusing to sign a new one after a severe lack of playing time. He moved to Juventus where he does this on a regular basis.
Pogba: Showing United fans exactly what they're missing.

Bizarrely, Januzaj was nominated for the BBC Sports Young Personality of the Year Award after only making 10 first team appearances for United. Either showing the ridiculous voting system and the apparent subsequent lack of young sporting talent in this country, or how an 18 year old teenager was carrying one of the biggest clubs in the world. Thankfully for himself and the BBC, the award was won by skeet shooter Amber Hill. This is a young man with which pressure does not seem to have an effect on him. Recently when taking a 25 year old woman out on a date, he took her to Nando's showing her his love for all things Piri-Piri. The woman was surprisingly shocked, however what does she expect when on a date with someone who was only 18 at the time. But I digress.
The face of a man who enjoys his chicken. 

He has not been a stranger to controversy. Already being labelled a diver by the press regarding some over acting after some challenges, some of which were non-existent in the first place. James Collins of West Ham would agree with that. You have to feel that if he were to become a truly world class player, which he is well capable of becoming, he will have to stamp that part of his game out. David Moyes will surely have a large part to play in that respect of his footballing education.

His international availability is another hot topic. Eligible to play for any one of Kosovo (who currently are only allowed to play international friendlies), Belgium (can he be another member of their so called 'Golden Generation'?) and Albania he certainly has a choice to make. Even England are sniffing around and have enquired about his eligibility through the residency qualification. Whichever National side he chooses to play for will surely be lucky to have Januzaj at their disposal. With Albania, and you could seriously argue England too, he would be able to slot into the first team almost straight away. With Belgium, his place of birth, however it would be a different story. He would have to contend with Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Nacer Chadli, Kevin Mirallas and Kevin De Bruyne for a starting spot on his favoured left wing, or anywhere across the front three attacking midfielders in Marc Wilmots talented international side expected to make good inroads in this summers Rio carnival. Given time, he would surely make his way into the squad with the talent that he possesses.

After the January acquisition of Juan Mata from Chelsea for a club record £37.1million, Januzaj becomes part of an attacking quartet, also featuring Wayne Rooney and Robin Van Persie, that have got United fans at their most excited all season. If the four of those players are allowed to gel and form an understanding, their freedom of movement and skill would be a hassle for even the most battle hardened of John Terry's.
United fans will be hoping that they will be seeing more goals like this.

If Januzaj can continue his impressive progression into the next few seasons, he will almost certainly become one of the best players in the world in his position. Already being talked about as a potential Manchester United legend (should he stick around long enough) he may well take the iconic Number 7 shirt next season. A significant improvement on his current first team number of 44. Many United fans feel that they are leaving the shirt open for a sensational Cristiano Ronaldo Old Trafford return, these fans however, will be severely disappointed following Ronaldo's recent contract extension at the Bernabeu.

The footballing world will watch with anticipation at how Adnan Januzaj will develop in the coming seasons. Will he be the next Ryan Giggs? Only time will tell.

An Introduction

Welcome to The Catenaccio, a blog about various footballing topics including, but not limited to, formations, players, teams etc, whatever topic that interests me or is of current relevance! A new side project for myself that I have wanted to do for a little while so hopefully my articles can be of some sort of entertainment for the many dozens of you that will actually read it.
I have held a long passion for all things football from a fairly young age, being an avid Manchester United fan since the day they were beaten in a woeful 3-0 performance away to Arsenal at Highbury in the 1997/98 season. A brain stacked full of the random facts and tidbits of knowledge about the beautiful game will hopefully aid me in this long and arduous journey ahead.
Plus, my laptop keyboard is very, very comfortable to write with so it gives me good reason to actively want to type up long articles (HP Probook 4540s for the inquisitive).

Any feedback, both positive and negative, will be much appreciated!

Happy and enjoyable reading!