Adnan Januzaj’s debut impresses boss David Moyes
Posted Monday, October 7 2013 at 01:00
LONDON- Sunderland’s Stadium of Light witnessed one of the great debuts when the beleaguered David Moyes handed a first start to Adnan Januzaj and saw the 18-year-old win the game for Manchester United with two dazzling second-half goals.
United trailed at the interval and looked so frail in defence a third successive defeat seemed on the cards, yet all people were talking about afterwards was a clear indication of star quality in a player who could opt to play for England if he wishes. “The FA have already been in touch,” Moyes said. “But don’t forget he could choose to play for Scotland, too.”
Roy Hodgson said on Match of the Day: “It has to be seriously debated before we start re-nationalising players, but there’s no doubt he’s a real talent and we have our eyes on him. There’s a lot still to be discussed.”
Born in Brussels and formerly on Anderlecht’s books, Januzaj qualifies for Belgium by birth and Albania and, reportedly, Croatia through his parents, but has yet to play for anyone at international level.
He has spent the past two years in England, though as the five-year period necessary for qualification on residential grounds only commences at age 18, he would have to wait until 2018, which might be unrealistic.
“He has a choice of countries he could play for,” Moyes said. “I don’t know who he will choose but I very much doubt he’ll be short of offers.”
Of more immediate concern to United is that his contract with the club expires in a year and he is yet to commit to a new one, though Moyes is relaxed about that. “I’m not too worried about the contract situation,” he said. “I think every young boy wants to play for Manchester United.”
This young boy has already attracted the attention of Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid, however, and on the strength of his debut alone United will already be under a certain amount of pressure from their own supporters to make sure Januzaj does not turn up anywhere else. “I gave Wayne Rooney his Premier League debut, and Ross Barkley, and Adnan is certainly up there with those players in terms of quality,” Moyes said.
“As far as debuts go, I would be surprised if even the great players in United’s past have shown such promise on day one. It wasn’t just the two goals, his whole game was outstanding. We know we’ve got a really special talent.”