David Moyes’ comments on Adnan Januzaj after Man Utd debut never came true
David Moyes thought Adnan Januzaj was destined for superstardom when he burst onto the scene at Manchester United back in 2013.
Moyes, who had just replaced legendary United boss Sir Alex Ferguson in the hot-seat at Old Trafford, handed the then-18-year-old his senior debut off the bench in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on 14 September.
A few weeks later Januzaj received his first start away at Sunderland, and it couldn’t have gone any better.
The Belgian netted two goals to help Moyes’ side come from behind and claim a 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light; first smashing the ball home from inside the box, before producing a sensational volley to win the game.
It was one of the great Premier League debuts, with Moyes tipping Januzaj to go on and become a “top, top player” at the time.
“I gave Wayne Rooney his Premier League debut, and Ross Barkley, and Adnan is certainly up there with those players in terms of quality,” the Scot said.
“As far as debuts go, I would be surprised if even the great players in United's past have shown such promise on day one.
“It wasn't just the two goals, his whole game was outstanding. We know we've got a really special talent, but we'll keep his feet on the ground.
“He's going to be a top, top player but I had him in the reserves last week. He's a very humble boy, a pleasure to work with.
“I thought this was the right time to play him, because he's just been so good.”
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Just over seven years on from that dream debut, Januzaj is set to line up against United for Real Sociedad in the last-32 of the Europa League on Thursday.
The winger left Old Trafford to join Sociedad in 2017, having followed up a promising first season at the club with a disappointing 2014/15 campaign under Louis van Gaal.
He then spent the first half of the 2015/16 season on loan at Borussia Dortmund, before ironically enjoying a loan spell under Moyes at Sunderland in 2016/17.
Januzaj failed to impress in his time at the Stadium of Light, scoring just one goal in 28 appearances as they suffered Premier League relegation, and United therefore decided to let him go ahead of the 2017/18 season.
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Now 26 years of age, the Brussels-born star has racked up 104 appearances for Sociedad, scoring 16 goals, but has struggled to hold down a regular place in Imanol Alguacil’s fifth-place La Liga side.
It’s fair to say Moyes’ bold prediction back in 2013 wasn’t quite on the money.
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