Home » Januzaj compared to Cruyff by former coach and hailed as ‘biggest talent’ by ex-team mate

Januzaj compared to Cruyff by former coach and hailed as ‘biggest talent’ by ex-team mate

by Sam Peoples

Players and coaches who worked with Adnan Januzaj during his youth years back in Belgium have been interviewed this week after his dream debut against Sunderland at the weekend thrust him into the limelight.

Jean Kindermans, Anderlecht’s academy director, hailed both his attitude and mental strength to avoid the lure of international football even back when he was 14 when questioned by Sky Sports News earlier this week.

And today in an interview for a Januzaj feature in Het NieuwsbladYannick Ferrera, Anderlecht’s youth coach between 2004 and 2010, had nothing but good things to say about the youngster.

“In the way he played, he reminded me of Johan Cruijff.”

He said: “Adnan has a phenomenal technique. He had so many tricks, but that was only the basis technique.

“On the pitch, he always tried to play as quick and efficient as possible. As an attacking midfielder, he never really was a goal scorer. He only scored between five and ten goals that season.

“Those 5-10 goals aren’t a lot in the Anderlecht youth. Adnan was mainly an assist man. He thought faster than the other guys, and he could bring anyone alone in front of goal.

“In the way he played, he reminded me of Johan Cruijff.”

That is precisely the style of football that we have seen in Januzaj’s two years at United. He has the ability to score goals but making them is his forte. That final pass where others shy away from is what Januzaj thrives on.

And Ferrera’s comparison to Cruijff is as high a compliment as he can get given how the Dutchman is widely regarded as one of the founders of ‘total football’, a concept which has helped shape the modern game.

Het Nieuwsblad also talked with Michael Heylen, a 19-year-old KV Kortrijk defender in the Belgian Pro League, who played alongside Januzaj in the youth teams and labelled him as the ‘biggest talent’ he has ever played with.

“Januzaj is the biggest talent with whom I’ve ever played,” he said.

“He always played with number ten, and he was a true number ten.

“Although he was small and slim, nobody could take the ball off him and he was so quick in the first few metres that he could surprise any opponent!”

Out of everybody who has been interviewed about Januzaj this week, nobody has said a bad word against him. It is a testament to just how good a player he really is.

His two goals at the weekend may have thrown him into the limelight in England but he has always been under the spotlight for the right reasons across his whole career so far.

One final thing that is interesting from Het Nieuwsblad’s double page feature on Januzaj is their description of how Januzaj’s family responded to a journalist from the Sun when he came looking for an interview.

“A journalist of the Sun came to Brussel to reconstruct Januzaj’s youth years. He called the Opel-garage where Adnan’s dad, Albedin, used to work. But they acted as if they never heard of him. Adnan’s uncle, who still lives in Bruxelles, simply said:”No interviews”.

“Nobody from the Januzaj family wants to talk about the fact that the top talent has declined a Belgium call up, and still hasn’t got a national team. The same goes about his big breakthrough at United: no word.”

Januzaj’s grounded attitude has been born from those around him and that insular nature has allowed him to concentrate on his football, something that has now come to fruition.

The 18-year-old really isn’t your average run-of-the-mill starlet and the more we find out about him, the more obvious it is that simply playing football is the most important thing to him above all else.

Image: Twitter/infobolaholic

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