Januzaj Helps Save Moyes Face With an Outstanding Performance

January 13, 2014

januAs he tries to fill the shoes of the grand old man of football, David Moyes has put his trust in a boy.
Take that how you will.
Desperation? Possibly.
Inspiration? Possibly.
One thing is certain, though. The willowy youth who was the catalyst for Saturday’s desperately-needed victory over Swansea is a rare, shining symbol of ­optimism in these testing Old Trafford times.
On occasions such as this one, Adnan Januzaj lifts this Manchester United team out of the mediocrity that has enveloped it post-Ferguson.
He was the one unshackled from uncertainty, free of fear, unafraid of adventure.
A welter of possession actually made Swansea complacent in this match and contributed to their downfall.
But it is hard to get away from the fact that, without Januzaj, it would have taken a fair stretch of the imagination to have seen a comfortable triumph for the champions.
That is what it was in the end, but no one will be hoodwinked by a win on the counter-attack.
And you could argue that a growing reliance on Januzaj is as much a symptom of the ­problems as a solution.
When Sir Alex was passing his files on to Moyes, you can imagine the notes on Januzaj.
‘Precocious kid. Use him in the cups, see how he does. He should be a player in 12 months’ time.’
A couple of games into the second half of the season and the teenager of no-fixed nationality is the go-to guy. His dad will be after a new contract soon – and that’s only half a joke.
Januzaj is a player. No doubt. But it is frighteningly early to demand he become a talisman at one of the world’s elite clubs.
Yet here he was, assuming the pivotal position – in the first half, at least – behind Danny Welbeck (despite Shinji Kagawa’s presence), assuming ownership of attractive ­set-pieces, generally assuming responsibility.
The absence of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie has increased the burden on Januzaj, but the startling decline in creative standards at Old Trafford is highlighted by the 18-year-old’s prominence.
Yet that would be a solely negative way of looking at it. And there is nothing negative about a player who doesn’t turn 19 until next month.
When he was switched to a wider position after a first half in which Swansea had a staggering 66 per cent of possession, Januzaj – who had been the only spark in a dismal opening period – flourished even more pleasingly.
He is a player who will be able to fill the whole range of attacking positions. Here, there was an eye for the short pass, the Beckham-style cross – but with both feet – and the strike; his bar-hitting free-kick was delicious.
In the short term, harness Januzaj with a returning Rooney and Van Persie and some sort of success this season is not out of the question.
But it has become about the long-term at United. It has become about making sure Rooney stays for the rest of this career and he is complemented by a shipment of costly class.
And it has become about Januzaj – a boy with wondrous ability.
Even in these most ordinary times for Manchester United, he is a reminder to the pessimists that extraordinary is still possible.
– Mirror Sports

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