Adnan Januzaj is an extremely talented teenage winger who has impressed enough at Manchester United to earn himself a squad number ahead of the side’s final matches of the season.
He was yesterday registered with squad number 44, an indication his recent impressive displays are about to come to fruition.
It’s a chance the 18-year-old should relish and if he plays in the same way he’s played in the reserves and for the Under-21 side this season, he could force himself ahead of other wide players in the senior squad for the next campaign.
That’s extremely bad news for Bebe, currently out on loan with Rio Ave in Portugal, who may have been expecting to return to Old Trafford and get an instant chance in the first team next year.
Wilfried Zaha is safe and one of the most exciting prospects that United have invested in for a long time, but Bebe could quickly find himself being moved on if Januzaj hits the ground running with a first team chance.
Januzaj has the instant advantage because he’s in Manchester and he’s available. Had the shoe been on the other foot, then Bebe could well have been given a chance to nail down a wide midfield position.
Januzaj has to stay extremely focused because he may not get much playing time on the pitch, with Sir Alex Ferguson always having adhered to his line of fairness in relation to fielding strong teams in any match where United having nothing to play for.
That means Januzaj could be confined to appearances off of the subs bench in effect becoming an impact player late into games, which is something he could thrive on because it eradicates the chance he’ll become fatigued over a long and intense game.
That doesn’t leave him at a disadvantage. It effectively becomes a challenge for him to come off the bench and put in a display, which leaves the manager no other choice but to consider him for starting roles more frequently.
His Under-21 stats suggest he should be a very effective right winger for the club; 14 appearances, one goal and five assists.
It’s that assists number which is the most important figure because Ferguson will always give chances to a player he believes can help others by both creating chances and setting up easy goals for his strikers.
The fact he’s been registered with a first team squad number so close to the end of the season suggests if he’s not used now, he’s definitely going to get a chance and that is terrible news for Bebe.
What do you make of Januzaj? Can he have an impact?
image: © Andrea Sartorati