Sunderland manager David Moyes has explained the reasons behind Adnan Januzaj‘s recent surge in potency at the Stadium of Light, pointing towards the Belgian’s improved work ethic.
Januzaj, after failing to establish a place in Jose Mourinho‘s first team squad at Manchester, was loaned out to Sunderland in August.
The youngster initially struggled to acclimatise to life at a relegation-threatened side, but recent performances – most notably against Watford last weekend – suggest that the Belgian is moving in the right direction under Moyes.
Moyes, speaking ahead of Sunderland’s visit to Old Trafford on Boxing Day (a game that Januzaj won’t feature in), discussed the 21-year-old’s recent resurgence.
“I have told him he has to look as if he’s running a bit harder, sometimes his body language gives you the feeling that he’s not,” he said.
“But he’s capable of winning games. He’s not quite doing it yet, but I have great belief he will. He’s got the ability to do it and score goals, he had a couple of one-against-one opportunities, instances you feel you would fancy to get in a shot.
“He has got a bit fitter and he needs a bit of encouragement as well. He had a chance against Chelsea which he could have scored, although it was a good save.
“But his goal in midweek showed his ability. If he wants to go back and play for Manchester United he has to show it here.
“How does he get recognised? Get the assists and the goals on the board. I know he has Manchester United quality so he has to show everyone at Sunderland he has got this.
“Adnan, if you are individual, what is it that you do? Cut in and shoot, get to the byline and cross. I wasn’t seeing either and I am not yet.”
It is clear that Januzaj, unlike most of his Sunderland teammates, possesses serious attacking enterprise. This ability to leave defenders flat-footed with one mesmerising piece of skill is unrivalled at the Stadium of Light.
Supporters may groan at the sight of the youngster losing the ball on an all-too-frequent basis, but they know – deep down – that Januzaj acts as a source of both frustration and sudden brilliance in equal measure.
The question we must ask with regard to Januzaj, like with all promising youngsters, is: does he have the right work ethic to succeed at this level?