Adnan Januzaj currently plays for Real Sociedad in La Liga, but it wasn’t long ago that the Belgium international was seen as one of the most exciting prospects in European football after breaking onto the scene at Manchester United.
He was one player Nicky Butt, head of first-team development, believed was destined for greatness.
“For me, the biggest disappointment at the club was Adnan Januzaj,” Butt told ESPN in December.
“I don’t think I’ve seen a player, probably since Ryan [Giggs] who was as good as that, he was unbelievable. In my eyes he should have gone to be a world superstar.
“He’s still playing professional football and he will have a good career. I’m sure he’s a millionaire and he won’t be going to bed worrying about what bills he’s got to pay, but he should have been a superstar.”
Now Januzaj says former United manager Louis van Gaal derailed his progress at Old Trafford.
“There was not the same freedom,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Star. “A winger needs that confidence, a manager telling you, ‘go and take people on’.
“With him [Van Gaal], it was a slow passing game. I was frustrated and everyone could see that I was not the same Adnan as the first year.
“I was sometimes even in the stands.”
Januzaj is football’s equivalent to The La’s.
It’s sad to see a young player’s career nosedive but at Sociedad Januzaj is trying to rebuild his profile.
The Daily Star add that he was linked with a January move and Serie A giants AS Roma were sniffing around.
Today a piece by Nat Hayward appeared on Sky Sport’s website argued that the former United winger is showing signs of a revival in Spain, which we’re obviously happy to read about.
Even if a player doesn’t work out at United, you still hope they will kick on elsewhere and make a name for themselves.
The article in question looks at his disappointing spells at Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland, and how his career has gone from a high, to a low, and now some hope.
He recently told AS that, ‘Manchester United is my second time after Real’ and also named former team-mate Paul Pogba as his ‘favourite’ player.
Interestingly, he praised his current manager at Sociedad, Imanol Alguacil, as the best coach he has ever had.
“I think Imanol is the best coach I have ever had, but sometimes he his also tough and we get angry,” Januzaj told AS, which acknowledges the importance of taking constructive criticism.