Manchester United drew 0-0 with a scrappy and determined Cambridge United side on Friday, with the underwhelming result carrying very few positives back to Old Trafford. However, one man who definitely impressed was the forgotten one – Adnan Januzaj.
After a stellar first season in which the Belgian took the Premier League by storm and broke into the first-team under David Moyes, Januzaj has found it difficult with chances under new boss Louis van Gaal coming few and far between.
Unable to get a clear run of games be played in a position that was anything but alien to him, talk of a loan move had been suggested in the past few weeks. On Friday, when Januzaj did finally get another chance, he grasped the opportunity with both hands.
Despite a slow first half in which he failed to do too much with the ball, Januzaj gradually grew into the game and by the end of the match looked the most lively and direct player on the pitch. Like last season, young Adnan was hungry for the ball and as his confidence began to come back he looked more and more comfortable. In the first half, he could be accused of slowing down play a little but equally he was trying one on ones, backheels and lively movement which will only serve to build back his understandably knocked back morale.
In the second half, Januzaj was noticeably better and after being shifted onto the left wing, Januzaj was much more successful with his dribbling, his close control looked better and his consistent delivery of crosses and shots were very encouraging. He bettered with the addition of Ander Herrera onto the field and Angel di Maria dropping deeper as it allowed him to test Cambridge’s keeper several times at his near post.
We all know it is only Cambridge but United fans will agree the opposition is irrelevant when building up a player’s self belief. If Januzaj can start performing against lower sides, then he can carry that confidence into the Premier League.
He’s the type of player that needs a spark of belief from anywhere and once he does the rest will follow. Overlooked so far this campaign by Van Gaal but still very much a big talent within Old Trafford, maybe 2015 will see more regular appearances for the boy who can do anything.