With just days remaining until the Premier League season begins again in earnest, we’re taking a look at all 20 teams and the players we believe will make the difference for their clubs. Focusing on the players who are Making The Jump – young players ready to join the first team and make an impact, those players for whom this season is Make Or Break and those Season Makers who, should they perform to their highest capabilities, should be the key players for their respective clubs.
One of the few shining lights in Manchester United’s 2013/14 campaign, Adnan Januzaj is now entering a season in which he is no longer a player of promise, but with his new number 11 shirt in tow, is a player of whom a great much is expected.
The Belgian winger (or is he an attacking midfielder?), although only 19 years-old has already proven that he has the ability and maturity to earn a spot in a transitional Manchester United set-up, but he will be looking to the season ahead as his chance to cement himself as one of the stand-out talents in this new look side.
2013/14 saw Adnan make his Manchester United debut in the Community Shield against Wigan Athletic, and his Premier League debut off of the bench just a month later against Crystal Palace. His full Premier League start resulted in two-goals and a 2-1 turn around for Manchester United and was the perfect way for the Belgian teen to announce himself to the league. Following just 10 appearances for United, Januzaj was nominated for the BBC Young Player of the Year award and was subsequently rewarded with a five-year contract extension.
Since his breakthrough, Januzaj has attained something of a reputation for his theatrics on the pitch and was even the center of some controversy after receiving three separate bookings for simulation with the third greatly dividing opinion as to whether he had been fouled and even whether the Belgian teen was in fact being targeted by overzealous defenders, a suggestion made by then coach David Moyes.
Opting to ply his trade at international level for Belgium rather than England, for whom he could also have played having attained residency status, Januzaj experienced his first international tournament in the 2014 World Cup and got a 60 minute run-out against South Korea, marking another incredible step in the prodigal talent’s rapid ascent.
Now back in the Manchester United set-up and with new coach Louis Van Gaal in place, it seems Januzaj will play a big part in this crucial season for the Red Devils, a fact made abundantly clear when news broke that the Belgian attacking midfielder had been handed the legendary number 11 shirt made famous by living legend Ryan Giggs.
With his new number and the experience of World Cup football now under his belt, Adnan Januzaj is all set for a huge year and at only 19 years-old could find himself one of the more valuable and complete assets in the Manchester United set-up.
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Words by Ben Fawcett