Cardiff City’s skilful starlet Mats Moller Dæhli has said he wants to emulate his former Manchester United team-mate Adnan Januzaj and reach the height he has.
Dæhli arrived at United just a week before Januzaj but their careers have gone on very separate paths as the Norwegian chose to leave in the summer but Januzaj has since broken into United’s first team.
His instant success is something that has surprised most people and Daehli wants to use him as an example of where he aspires to be.
Speaking about Januzaj, Daehli said: “We became friends and trained every day together. I’ve not been in touch with him so much recently, but I met him when Cardiff played United recently which was good.
“He is a big role model for me in that he is young and he is performing for a big team. He is definitely someone I look up to. I am hoping there is more to come from me at Cardiff now, but you need to have the right focus and mentality.
“You must want to improve every day. Just like Adnan, you can see how he has improved this season and how brave he is on the pitch and that is something I want to do as well. I want to start every game, but I know that I am young and still developing and there are parts of my game which I can improve on. But my focus is that I want to play and I want to show that every time I play.”
Dæhli was one of the few high points in Cardiff’s recent disappointing defeat to holders Wigan in the FA Cup and Solskjær singled him out as Cardiff’s outstanding player on the 18-year-old’s first start since joining from Molde. Solskjær has been cautious with his use of Dæhli so far but performances like this will make it hard to leave him out as Ole’s side look to stay in the Premier League.
Just over a year ago Dæhli and Januzaj were playing together in United’s Under-18 side. Dæhli’s path took him to Molde, where he played under Ole in a cup-winning season. He made his full international debut as well.
However, Dæhli could have rejoined Januzaj at United as the club did activate the much rumoured buy-back clause barely six months after he left. Both he and his father, Norwegian sports journalist Truls Dæhli, had talks with the club before he joined Cardiff for £2.5 million.
“I did have talks with United and there was a buy back clause.
“They had a chat with my dad but I wanted to play for Cardiff. I just want to play first-team football and play for Ole,” he said, “I had the offer from him and what he said to me and I want to kick on. I like playing under him that’s why I came to the club.”
United fans aren’t surprised to see Daehli doing so well but it is a bitter pill to swallow as he could be doing that right now in a United shirt like Januzaj is.