The Belgian-born winger was handed a prominent role in the Manchester United starting XI for the crunch game against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, due to the missing strike duo of Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney.
It was suggested by Jamie Carragher that Januzaj may sit out and observe from the touchline, gaining a learning experience by watching the movement and discipline of experience pros during the big clashes. Yet, the 18-year-old started the game – showing much more attacking verve than any other United player throughout.
Ever since Januzaj scored a double away at Sunderland during Manchester United’s 2-1 come-from-behind victory, the expectations on the youngster’s shoulders have gained more weight.
Admirably, since that day Januzaj has performed to a consistently high standard, adding to that with another impressive performance against arguably the best defenders he will have faced in his career so far – Gary Cahill, Branislav Ivanovic and David Luiz.
The attack-minded player was a prominent figure as Manchester United looked to take advantage of a dominant spell in the early stages, pulling out wide and tormenting Ivanovic with ease, additionally linking up well with the over-lapping Patrice Evra far better than how Ashley Young managed.
Manchester United looked more and more towards the youngster as a way of getting back into the game once going behind to a Samuel Eto’o deflected strike – evidently touching the ball far more than fellow forwards Welbeck and Young before the latter was substituted.
Throughout the match, Januzaj completed eight crosses, made two successful dribbles, played two key passes, took on two shots – statistically outshining Eden Hazard – the phenomenal winger which cost Chelsea a reported £32m
It was a performance which stood out amongst a disappointing afternoon for David Moyes and his troops as Manchester United remained 14 points adrift of league leaders Arsenal.
However, The Red Devils have the perfect antidote to bounce back with a League Cup Semi-Final second leg match at Old Trafford next on the agenda. It’s a game in which youngster Adnan Januzaj has to start if Manchester United want to progress to the final where they will look to meet city rivals Manchester City at Wembley.
image: © joncandy