Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj was once considered as one of the brightest young players in the European game.
He burst into the United team in 2013 at just 18, scoring twice in his first start in a 2-1 win at Sunderland.
That virtuoso display and a couple more impressive performances during Moyes’ short stint in charge at Old Trafford saw Januzaj handed a new five-year contract and £60,000 per week.
Fast forward three years and Januzaj has almost vanished from the consciousness of the casual football observer. Questions are now being asked about whether the now 21-year-old will fulfil his potential?
Typically over-hyped youngster
Januzaj does have talent and he has shown flashes of that during his short career so far. Unfortunately, the fame and fortune seem to have gone to his head.
Following his full debut countries were clamouring for him to commit to their cause and head scouts at all the major European clubs had their heads turned. The likes of former United great Ryan Giggs and even current boss Jose Mourinho were singing Januzaj’s praises.
That sort of media scrutiny is enough to make any youngster over-confident and believe that he does not need to earn his wages.
Januzaj is the typical example of the attitude v talent argument that I have voiced on my editorials so often. The talent is there, but from the outside looking in, seems unwilling to work hard to achieve his potential.
He spent the first half of last season at Dortmund in an unsuccessful loan spell, making just six appearances. The youngster signing was trumpeted as a coup for Dortmund, but in truth, he struggled to make an impact in Germany.
BVB boss Thomas Tuchel questioned his attitude, which now seems to be a running theme for Januzaj and his career so far.
Future at United in question
His underperformance and perceived lack of application have now seen his future at United questioned. He has lost the number 11 shirt to the more productive Anthony Martial. It seems unclear if he has a short or long-term future at Old Trafford.
According to the Daily Mail, Sunderland boss David Moyes fancies a reunion with the winger this summer. The Scot is reportedly looking to sign Januzaj on a season-long loan deal.
He would be a questionable signing for any club, but maybe, just maybe the Scot can get something more out of the Belgian international star. It was Moyes who gave Januzaj the chance in the Red Devils first team.
Januzaj also enjoyed the most prolonged period of first team football of his career under Moyes at United. His chances of first football at United are not exactly looking rosy at the moment, although he has featured in pre-season games fleetingly.
However, he failed to produce anything that would convince Mourinho that he will be a player that can feature in his first team next season. The Portuguese boss has some very good attacking options available to him, so maybe a move elsewhere is what Januzaj needs to play regularly next season.
Fear he may just disappear
He was supposed to be the player to take up Ryan Giggs mantle. Instead, all he has taken up at Old Trafford is £60,000 per week of the clubs money. In three years the winger does not seem to have progressed.
Some will say he has not played much first team football. Others will argue that his unwillingness to put in the hard work has seen him struggle at United.
Talent is not always enough to cement a place in the top echelons of football, which is where United and Januzaj undoubtedly want to be, with the Red Devils odds of 7/2 to win the title next season.
Noises coming out of Old Trafford suggest that his coaches and his teammates fear that Adnan Januzaj may just slip into obscurity. That would be a sad state waste of talent if the winger fails to fulfil his potential.
However, if he does fail to fulfil his potential because of a lack of application, then the youngster only has himself to blame. This season could be a pivotal one for the youngster, whether it be at United or elsewhere.
If he does not does start putting more effort into improving his game, then he may end up plying his trade far from the elite, which would have seemed far-fetched back in 2013 following his full debut for United.
Can Adnan Januzaj revive his career this season?
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