Januzaj and Morrison: Man U starlets take different paths
One has enjoyed a swift rise to prominence while the other has taken a longer, tougher route
TWO products of the Manchester United youth system lit up the Premier League this weekend, although the career paths of youngsters Adnan Januzaj and Ravel Morrison have already taken very different paths.
For Januzaj the rise has been swift and spectacular, while Morrison has had to wait for his time in the footballing spotlight.
Adnan Januzaj: The 18-year-old scored twice on his full league debut for United to announce himself to the footballing world on Saturday and spark confusion over whether he will one day be able to play for England.
The Brussels-born Kosovar-Albanian is already eligible to play for five different nations and there is hope he will one-day wear the Three Lions of England, although that would not be until 2018 at the earliest. Despite his background he has United to thank for his rise to stardom. He joined the club in 2011 at the age of 16 and made gradual progress through the ranks.
He was an unused substitute in Alex Ferguson's final game as United boss, and forced his way into the first team after impressing during United's pre-season tour of the Far East. His debut came in the Community Shield and after being handed a start against Sunderland he took his chance with both hands.
He has now been handed a place in United's Champions League squad as United try and convince him to remain with at Old Trafford beyond the end of the season, when his contract expires. However, "United have yet to make a breakthrough and there are concerns within the club that interest from leading European clubs could result in a repeat of their failure to keep French midfielder Paul Pogba two seasons ago," reports the Daily Telegraph.
The Daily Mail is impressed with the player and believes he could be offered £60,000 a week to stay at United. "Januzaj’s style and swagger offers a reminder of that shown by Rooney when he burst on to the scene at Everton," says the paper, which notes that David Moyes has history when it comes to blooding new talent. He was responsible for the rise of Ross Barkley, who came through the ranks at Goodison Park.
Ravel Morrison: Morrison is only two years older the Januzaj, but has been talked about for years. He made his debut for United in October 2010 and was regarded as one of the best prospects the club had ever unearthed, but his off-field antics earned as much coverage as his football. United stood by him after he admitted two counts of witness intimidation in 2011, but he was eventually sold to West Ham in 2012.
His career appeared to be drifting when he was then loaned to Birmingham and could not break into the team, but a year later he finally appears to be blossoming into the player Man United once hoped he could be.
After the game against Spurs, in which Morrison scored a sensational individual goal, manager Sam Allardyce declared him a "genius".
"Finally the world understood why Sir Alex Ferguson once proclaimed that he had seen the most exciting teenage prodigy since Ryan Giggs — and with two great feet," says The Times.
"Adnan Januzaj was United’s back-page hero on Saturday and that could so easily have been Morrison had he not been so wayward. That was then. Yesterday, Morrison once more became a figure of hope and expectation." ·