David Moyes gave a first start to exciting Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj at Sunderland and was rewarded with three points when it seemed like the home side would inflict another blow on United’s troubled start to the season.
“I remember giving Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley their debuts and Adnan is certainly in that quality,” said Moyes.
“Starting Adnan certainly wasn’t a gamble for me. I see Adnan in training every day, I saw him on tour and actually he’s even got better since coming back from the tour. I would have probably put him in the team three or four weeks ago. There were a couple of games when I was going to start him. I just felt that until we got a bit of momentum into our play, I thought we had to wait. As it was, he’s looked as good as anybody in training so I thought he deserved to play.
“His goals were great. Two different types of goals. As well as that, I think he had another two shots in the first half which were very close as well. They were good efforts. His second goal was a great one. The timing of the volley, the technique… I actually really enjoyed the first one. He got hold of it, played it out wide, followed it into the box and ended up scoring from about the penalty spot.”
Januzaj has yet to commit himself to an International team and has turned down a series of call-ups by Belgium as well as interesting Albania, Croatia, and England thanks to his heritage and residency. There have even been stories linking the youngster with a move to Manchester City next summer. Moyes remained calm about the situation and promised to help manage the growing interest in him.
“I’ve had that experience with Wayne and one or two other players. We’ll just make sure he’s not treated any different and try not to get the media too hyped up about him. But it’s difficult not to talk about a boy when he puts in a performance like that and he scores two goals. But he deserves it. He’s a really humble boy and grounded boy. I’ve not got too many fears about him.”
Craig Gardner’s early goal had put the Black Cats into an unexpected lead and David De Gea had to be alert to prevent Kevin Ball’s side from going 2-0 up from Emanuele Giaccherini’s header.
Januzaj levelled the scores 10 minutes after the break, converting Patrice Evra’s cross, before showing remarkable composure to volley the winner with his left foot from a lofted ball six minutes later.
The 18-year old youngster could not have been more delighted with his first brace on his first United start but Moyes will have been worried about the overall performance of the team against Sunderland which rarely rose above acceptable and would surely have been found wanting given tougher examinations than away at the Premier League’s basement club.