5 Reasons Why Manchester United Must Build Their Team Around Adnan Januzaj
Adnan Januzaj has been a bright light in Manchester United's otherwise mostly dismal season. David Moyes' tenure at United will not be fondly remembered, but giving Januzaj his debut could be something fans thank Moyes for long into the future.
Whoever gets the job of managing United next, they would be well served building a team around the youngster.
Here are five reasons why...
The Busby Babes and Fergie's Fledglings—the two great eras of post-war United have been defined in popular conscientiousness by their association with youth.
Januzaj is not steeped in the tradition in the way that, say, Danny Welbeck is, having “only” been at the club since he was 16, but he has been influenced by the United youth system, and he can be part of the continuation of that legacy.
Januzaj is, simply, a fantastic young player. His season has been an interesting one. He burst onto the scene at a time when United really needed some hope and essentially carried the team. United looked far more effective with him on the pitch than not.
Given David Moyes was in dire need of results, Januzaj's form probably meant he got more football than would have been ideal for his age, and the latter part of the season has seen him much less involved.
But that a 19-year-old was United's most important player for a large part of the season should make his quality abundantly clear.
Janzuaj appears to be handling the pressure well. Certainly his temperament on the pitch is admirable.
At no point has he looked overawed on the biggest stage. It is easy to assign that to the fearlessness of youth, but the truth is many young players find Old Trafford an intimidating arena to show what they can do.
He received three yellow cards for diving, causing a good deal of media coverage. That he was on the receiving end of some very rough treatment from defenders a decade older than him was less discussed.
He never stopped playing with courage and abandon, and that bodes well for his future.
United fans will always respond well to a skilful winger. Some of the most beloved players in the club's history fit that mould—George Best, Ryan Giggs and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Januzaj has a very “United” aesthetic in that he enjoys taking players on and injecting excitement into proceedings. In a season where the subject of crossing has become a vexed question, Januzaj's has been consistently excellent.
A team built around Januzaj would necessarily play very watchable football, because he is such a watchable player.
The Right Players Around Him
The greatest strength of United's current squad is its attacking potential. Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez are all players with whom Januzaj can (and has) make excellent on-field relationships.
They are also all players who can work in a system in which Januzaj is a key part and, crucially, there is plenty of cover available for his position, so he can be allowed to grow into the player he has the potential to become without undue pressure.
There are problems at United, as this season has shown but with the departure of Moyes, a sense of optimism has returned. Whoever arrives to plot the course of the next few seasons should ensure Januzaj is a key part of the journey.