As part of some pregame psychology, Mark Hughes decided to hit out at Adnan Januzaj for building a reputation as a dirty diver, something he’ll need to walk away from if he’s to become a great player. Even though the comment is meant to provoke and put pressure on the officials as Stoke and Manchester United meet to play in the League Cup quarterfinals, he’s got it quite right when it comes to the young Belgian player.
Januzaj began in a storm, but a combination of the ups & downs of teenage starlets while having a manager like David Moyes to guide him and put him on the wrong spot in the pitch many a time has made him look less wondrous with every appearance. One might argue that even at 18, he’s the best winger Manchester United have, although it’s hard to decide if that’s a quip at the club for the fading overall talent grade or a compliment to Januzaj, becoming such an essential part of the team on his debut season. A little bit of both I presume.
Like the previous left winger at Manchester united, Januzaj has a disease of falling down to easily. In England, the media loves to blame it on the foreigners. Maybe it’s a bit more popular among non-British players. But last time we checked, Gareth Bale wasn’t from South America, and Ashley Young wasn’t born in Portugal. Januzaj had local players, from the club and from the league, to pick up his bad habits from.
He’s already been booked once this season for diving, and if he keeps at it, it’ll end up in more, with his reputation getting tarnished. Not that it matters to him that much, as long as he stays in the lineup and keeps being successful. Footballers care what people think about them, but they prefer winning, even if it involves a little bit of cheating and deceiving. Right now it seems like Januzaj is taking that path.