Date: 21st September 2014 at 11:30am
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When it comes to a young player’s development, things aren’t always completely clear cut. Some believe that all talent needs to develop is regular game time. You often hear stories about players needing to leave their current clubs to find lesser football teams who can fit them in their first team.

On the other hand, I can’t help but feel that young players need to be seriously challenged if they’re to fulfill their full potential. They need to face obstacles on multiple fronts at a young age if they’re to lead a successful career.

For a start, they need to play in big games whilst they’re still young. They need to be thrown in at the deep end when the opportunity arises. Moreover, they need to face competition from their team-mates. They need to feel like one slip up could see them slip out of their manager’s plans.

This brings me to Manchester United prodigy, Adnan Januzaj, the player who was probably the club’s only bright spark last season. Last year the 19-year-old made 35 appearances for The Red Devils and found the back of the net 4 times.

This season he’s struggled for game-time. In fact, he’s yet to start a game for Manchester United. Still, he managed to prove that he’s got all the talent he needs to succeed by scoring a hat trick for United’s U21s last Monday. Surely Louis Van Gaal has to find a way of tapping into this talent?

Unfortunately, new signings Ander Herrera and Angel Di Maria are likely to block his route to the first team. This has led to former Manchester United youngster, Keith Gillespie, speaking out:

“Unfortunately, with the embarrassment of riches Manchester United have at the moment, he’s not first choice. He’s still young though and is learning the game. He needs games to bring out his potential. He’s a winger and I’m not sure he can adapt and play as a wing back. He needs to play further forward. It’s very difficult to fit him in to the system.” (Source: The Mirror)

These are salient points, but Gillespie is referring to exactly the kind of competition I singled out earlier as being generally beneficial. If Adnan Januzaj can stick with it, work hard and keep his head down, he will get opportunities.

If he’s good enough (and it looks like he is), he’ll grab at them with both hands. He’s only 19-years-old. There’s no reason for him to make any rushed, hasty decisions. If he wants to build a successful career, then he’s already at the right place. He just needs to be patient.

What’s your take? What does the future hold for Adnan Januzaj?

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