Manchester United fans compare Januzaj debut to George Best’s 50 years previous

Adnan Januzaj (low qual)

Should United fans be careful with placing such pressure on the 18-year-old Belgian?

Fifty years ago yesterday Manchester United gave a debut to a skinny 17-year-old forward George Best. The 14th September 1963 was the day and Matt Busby’s side were playing West Bromwich Albion in a First Division game.

United won the game 1-0 with a goal from David Sadler but it was Best who had written his name into history - and went on to become a legend at the club, and arguably the most naturally gifted player to ever play the game.

Yesterday, another young and gifted forward was handed his debut for United at the age of 19 - and the parallels are, I suppose, evident.

Both tall, tricky, dribblers - equally adept on both feet and capable of creating something from nothing. And many Manchester United fans compared the two moments after Januzaj impressed off the bench.

The Premier League's first gay footballer

Januzaj came on for Ashley Young, not currently a popular choice among United fans, but in his cameo he showed several glimpses of his wonderful natural ability that has pundits and fans so excited about the future.

His dummy and run to deliver a ball in from the left was superb, and he won the free-kick which saw Wayne Rooney blowing celebratory kisses to the United faithful minutes later.

Unfortunately, he is another talent assembled on the production line of quality young footballers produced by Belgium at the moment, but United fans won’t care.

Comparing him however, to a legendary figure in both football and pop culture is certainly a dangerous tactic. Januzaj has barely scratched the surface of professional football yet he is lumbered with this comparison - almost down to coincidence in relation to the now deceased Northern Irishman (Best lost a long battle with alcoholism in 2005).

It is great to aim high for this young starlet, but the likelihood remains he will not be in the next Premier League squad, whereas Best scored on his second game for the club and was an immediate regular.

The same footballing qualities may be present, but beware using big names as pedestals for young players to achieve.

Think of all the next Maradona’s, Zidane’s, Pele’s and Cruyff’s from down the years - how many have actually made it stick - not many.

These tags often set up a player to fail under the pressure of this bequeathed moniker - and nobody wants that to happen to Januzaj.

If he can keep his head down however, the sky is the limit, and whisper it if you will, he could potentially be a great, like Best.

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch