All the news, views and transfer rumours from Old Trafford this weekend…
Until the Belgian stepped in, David Moyes’ side were trailing to the league’s bottom side. But Januzaj demonstrated that tricky wing play is only one facet of his game, dispatching two expertly-taken goals – the second of which was an absolute beauty.
Following the match, the teenager rightly generated all the plaudits. But his man-of-the-match performance also led to England manager Roy Hodgson revealing the FA were keen for Januzaj to play for the English national team ahead of both Belgium and Albania.
When asked on the BBC’s Match of the Day if the 18-year-old could one day turn out for England, Hodgson said, “Yes, down the line if he becomes naturalised or if he becomes a home-grown product.”
Given England’s current standing in the game, and the fact that he has far stronger ties to both the country of his birth and that of his heritage, fans probably should not get too excited about seeing a player touted as the next Cristiano Ronaldo turning out for the Three Lions in the future.
One player who does just that is Phil Jones, and speaking after the Sunderland match he praised his side’s performance at the Stadium of Light.
Speaking to MUTV, he said, “That was the sign of champions out there. When your backs are against the wall and everyone’s raising questions, a performance like that puts the record straight.”
In truth United have a very long way to go to stop all the doubters, but Saturday’s result was a good start.
In other news, Paul Pogba has revealed the day he knew he had to leave Old Trafford. Speaking to French television the Juventus midfielder said it was a 3-2 defeat against Blackburn Rovers on New Year’s Eve 2011 that told him he had to move on. It also happened to be Sir Alex Ferguson's birthday.
With United fielding a make-shift midfield due to injury, Pogba spent the match on the bench, and decided then and there he would have to leave to find the first-team opportunities he craved.
We ran an article on the story earlier today that can be found here.
image: © eirikref