Manchester United have endured a horrible start to their season and it was left to an 18 year old Belgian kid to bail them out at the Stadium of Lights and earn them three points.
Adnan Januzaj was handed his first start for Manchester United and a few eye brows were raised as Shinji Kagawa was shown the way to the bench once again. All eyes were on the teenager and as promising as his performance looked on the on the whole, the youngster must know himself that he still has a lot to work on.
Januzaj started on the left wing and always looked to take on defenders whenever he got the ball. United’s first half performance was abysmal and as Sunderland kept United pegged back in their half, Januzaj was not doing a great job of tracking back and helping Patrice Evra. The youngster was also dispossessed two to three times in aerial battles but that is understandable as he will get bulkier and stronger with age. However, going forward, Januzaj was the major threat for Sunderland as his extra composure made him take some deft touches and unleash some good shots, notably a weaker foot shot that went just pass the Sunderland keeper’s far post.
The second half saw United take the ascendency and again it was the Belgian making things work for the Red Devils. Just three minutes in to the half, Januzaj drifted in the Sunderland penalty area as he went past three players but in the end lost his balance and fell on the ground in between many Sunderland players. The referee booked him for diving which seemed harsh as the replay’s suggested that there was no purposeful simulation by the winger. The booking did not impress Manchester United manager and an air of uncertainty crept in the Manchester United fans in the ground that things are not going to plan. The youngster kept working hard and provided a ball out wide for Evra and then made a late surge in to the box and Evra’s rolled ball in to the penalty area was put in calmly by the Januzaj with a first time, side footed finish with his weaker foot. Just five minutes later, United fans went wild as a Nani cross was deflected by a Sunderland defender in to the path of Januzaj who unleashed a crisp volley across the face of the goal keeper and that goal proved to be the winning goal for United. He was later substituted with 15 minutes to go in the match.
Adnan Januzaj has lifted the spirits of the camp with his amazing performance and such an exciting prospect needs to be handled with care. At times, Januzaj chose to take on a defender rather than passing the ball up to Rooney or Van Persie to link up with them and David Moyes will certainly note that aspect. His tracking back needs to be worked on but apart from that, the winger has done a great job to impress the footbaling world with his fluent dribbling, extra bit of composure, strong weaker foot and most importantly, a knack of scoring crucial goals. All the United greats in the past have stepped up to rescue United’s season and although this may not be the season for Januzaj, his performance has certainly put him on the road to being a Manchester United great and Moyes will have to ensure that the youngster keeps his feet on the ground and works hard. He has already been put under the same bracket as Wayne Rooney by his manager and it will be a hard job to match the achievement of the United talisman. It is just the beginning of this Belgium sensation and a performance against a bottom team table cannot be a judging factor alone. The bigger teams will provide tougher challenges and that will be the real test of Januzaj.