Adnan Januzaj is determined to prove his doubters wrong this season during his loan spell with David Moyes’ Sunderland. The Belgium-born winger was loaned to the lowly club in the Premier League for the entire season after being left out of the Manchester United first team squad by new manager Jose Mourinho. During Moyes’ reign at United during the 2013/14 season, Januzaj was a mainstay in the first team, being the inspiration for some of his teammates, which is the polar opposite these days. Last season, Januzaj was frozen out by Louis van Gaal and he was loaned to Borussia Dortmund, with that loan spell being terminated early with the player returning to the Old Trafford club for the remainder of the season.
It was against Sunderland where Januzaj sprung into action three years ago, rising to the top of his game and having a purple patch, really looking like he was fastly becoming the player he was tipped to become. This season, finding himself on loan at the club he performed well against, he will now be determined to get those days back, proving his doubters wrong and earning himself a position in the Manchester United team next season, which is going to have to be a string of great performances, based on the talent at the club right now, not to mention the transfer plans Mourinho and executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward are planning for January and beyond. Januzaj has spoken about his mission this season with The Mirror reporting:
“It is just to prove to some of the people that they were wrong (about me).
“I will work hard to show they were wrong over the past few years.”
The 21-year-old, born in Brussels, seems determined to prove that his doubters were wrong about him and that he will work hard this season to prove that. At the end of the day, if he had worked hard for the past few seasons, he might not be in the position he is currently in. When playing for Warren Joyce’s U21 side last season, Januzaj was attempting to score from corners, which did not miss the attention of the coach who was heard shouting at the player from the touchline. That aside, Januzaj is a talented player, but the hunger he has not shown over the past two seasons has been noticed, hence why he is not involved in the Manchester United first team this season. United’s head of the Academy Nicky Butt, speaking in an interview with The Times, has backed Januzaj to return to the club next summer, also stating that he would be ‘hurt’ is the Belgian did not make it at the Old Trafford club. Butt, initially speaking about the departure of Paddy McNair, Donald Love, Tyler Blackett, Will Keane and James Weir, said:
“They’re really good lads and will have a good life, nice houses but they weren’t at the level for United. It doesn’t hurt me as much as, say, if Adnan Januzaj went and never came back. He’s got the level to play for United and win leagues and Champions Leagues. Maybe he’s not been as dedicated, a case of too much too soon, a millionaire now.”
Januzaj feels that his determination to succeed with help him to success at Manchester United. He states that he has the ‘never give up’ mentality and if something is not working as well as it could be, you need to keep working at it. It would seem that Januzaj has started to learn his lesson by his treatment thus far, which could be what he needed to get him back on track. In the past, he has looked good for United, but when you see that was in the 2013/14 season, three season’s ago, most will wonder what the point would be in retaining the player this season, who would more than likely be surplus to requirements. Having a good season away from United may mean that Mourinho will see the real Adnan Januzaj, which could work out for the player and he find his way out of the cold and back into the Manchester United squad, but he has a lot of work to achieve to even be able to think about his future at the Old Trafford club. Speaking about his determination, Januzaj said:
“Part of my mentality is to never give up, even if something goes a bit wrong you always have to keep working – that is what I have been doing. Now I have the chance to prove myself again. I spoke with David Moyes and he asked me if I wanted to come here, I said that I wanted to play football.
“He gave me the opportunity to do that. I am really thankful for that. For two years I didn’t have many chances to play but I came here to Sunderland to play games and to prove people that they were wrong.
“I never give up and I always love to play football. I am happy to be where I am and playing games. I didn’t have much game time, it was difficult and I have played three games now for Sunderland and in three games I have built my fitness back slowly. Now I need to kick-on.”
Januzaj will be given the time to succeed at Sunderland this season. David Moyes rates the player after guiding him to the heights he achieved for United three years ago, and that will make him feel he can do the same thing again. Moyes is a competent manager, at a smaller club maybe, doing well at Everton for eleven years, which may be the reason Sunderland decided to give him a chance to earn his praise once again. Sunderland has managed to avoid relegation for the last few seasons, which is disappointing as at times they have not been good enough for the Premier League. This season, Januzaj has a clean slate to show his worth to his loan club and Manchester United. The Belgian was asked about the prospects of Sunderland this season under David Moyes, saying:
“(Moyes) is building a very good team here. It is still early for him to show people what he can do, he needs time to adapt to the club, of course.
“But I think he is doing very, very well and all of the players that have been signed are all very good players.”
Januzaj should have all the ingredients to achieve at a high level, but the fact he did not seem as committed to Manchester United as some of his teammates over the last few seasons is very telling. That will be something that has been noticed by Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff and part of the decision to loan him out this season in order to see what he is made of. I don’t think Januzaj will fight his was back into Mourinho’s plans, which would be a shame. United are getting ready for the future under Mourinho, the manager has brought in players that he feels will do a job for the club for the future, putting United back on the map as one of the best clubs in the Premier League and Europe once again, which will obviously take time after three season’s out of the pecking order. Januzaj will have to pull out all of the stops in order to fight for a position in Mourinho’s squad, but he seems determined and sounds like he will be vying hard for a chance to prove himself at Old Trafford once again.