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Sport After Man Utd struggles, Januzaj is fulfilling potential at Sociedad

01:55  25 november  2020
01:55  25 november  2020 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

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Januzaj is happy. His United career ended after unsuccessful loan spells at Dortmund and also at Sunderland – where he was reunited with Moyes but At Sociedad – based in San Sebastian in the Basque region – there are high hopes of finishing in the top six and qualifying for European football.

Adnan Januzaj has suggested that a penchant for “long ball” in the Premier League and a lack of Januzaj blames ‘long ball’ Premier League for Man Utd struggles . The Belgium international winger is enjoying his football again at Real Sociedad having previously endured a testing time at Old Trafford.

a group of football players on a field: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

There's a party mood these days in San Sebastian. Real Sociedad are top of the league, going well in the Europa League, and still with last season's Spanish Cup final against Athletic Bilbao to play.

Adnan Januzaj hasn't always been the first to join the fun at the Basque club but on Sunday as the team made it four straight wins and left themselves only one victory away from their best start to a season ever, the 25-year-old former Manchester United winger was the life and soul.

Two mesmerising pieces of skill – one dribble that took him away from two rivals, and one standing cross, almost with no back-lift, that gifted Alexander Isak the only goal of the game – were the highlights and overall only David Silva could match him for his impact on the match.

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Adnan Januzaj has suggested that a penchant for “long ball” in the Premier League and a lack of faith from Louis van Gaal are to blame for the struggles he endured at Manchester United . The Belgium international appeared destined for a bright future in England when bursting out of the Old Trafford

Januzaj arrived at United as a 16-year-old in 2011 and made his first-team debut in August 2013 after coming off the bench in the Community Shield. He failed to establish himself, however, and moved to Sociedad , where he has six goals in 67 matches. Butt has seen the likes of Scott McTominay and

a group of young men playing a game of football: Adnan Januzaj is the life and soul of Real Sociedad who are surprisingly top of LaLiga currently © Provided by Daily Mail Adnan Januzaj is the life and soul of Real Sociedad who are surprisingly top of LaLiga currently David Moyes wearing a suit and tie standing in front of a crowd: The Belgian broke into the Manchester United first-team under David Moyes seven years ago © Provided by Daily Mail The Belgian broke into the Manchester United first-team under David Moyes seven years ago

In a squad full of local boys – 16 of the 23 this season have come through from the youth academy – it would be easy for Januzaj to stay on the fringes.

It doesn't help that he has often appeared to have one eye on an exit, with a move back to England – where he broke into Man Utd's first-team in David Moyes' torrid spell in 2013 – never too far away from the agenda.

His maverick style also occasionally works against him in coach Imanol Alguacil's tightly-drilled unit. But this season it seems he has accepted that there is no better time than now for him to really start fulfilling his potential.

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Real Sociedad winger Adnan Januzaj promises to dedicate first goal to Louis Van Gaal after their 'difficult' relationship at Manchester United . It wasn't easy, it's very frustrating and difficult when you are in a situation like that .' Januzaj is now keen to play regular first team football at Sociedad and

Instead, Januazaj is struggling to keep up in Germany. After starting this campaign encouragingly, scoring at Villa Park in the second game, moving to Germany was supposed to be the catalyst for Januzaj to remind everyone of the dazzling prospect who emerged in 2013.

Sunday was only his third league start of the season but he will be hard to drop after such a performance.

'I want to have a good season here,' he told Radio Marca. 'We are in the Europa League and I don't just want to play it, I want to win it and get into the Champions League.'

That positive interview from September also included phrases such as: 'Then we will see how things are'. And 'I want the fans to remember me when I'm gone', but at least he is 100 per cent committed for this campaign.

'Imanol likes to fight with me. I think I've had more rollickings than anyone else in the squad. He is always angry with me but in a good way,' he said of his relationship with the coach.

Alguacil wants Januzaj to have a more consistent impact in games. The Belgian is responding, perhaps in part because he knows his place in the team is by no means assured.

a man standing in front of a crowd of people watching a football game: Januzaj hasn't always been fully committed to Sociedad but wants to be a success this year © Provided by Daily Mail Januzaj hasn't always been fully committed to Sociedad but wants to be a success this year a man standing in front of a crowd: Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil (left) wants the winger to have a consistent impact on games © Provided by Daily Mail Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil (left) wants the winger to have a consistent impact on games

Jet-heeled winger Portu does not have his skill-set but he is direct with good end-product and very few dips in form. And there is no chance both Portu and Januzaj can play because on the other wing Spain international and La Real captain Mikel Oyarzabal needs a place in the side.

Real Sociedad take the lead in La Liga!

 Real Sociedad take the lead in La Liga! © Supplied by Sports.fr Isak Real Sociedad The club of San Sebastián is 6 victories in a row in the Spanish league. In the aftermath of the draw between Villarreal and Real Madrid (1-1), the Real Sociedad did not miss its chance to get comfortable at the head of the Liga Gallery: Bayern Munich: the 5 matches that sealed the title of the Bavarians (Onze Mondial) .

Adnan Januzaj has branded the questioning of his attitude while at Manchester United as “stupid” and praised Januzaj slams 'stupid' questioning of his attitude during Man Utd spell. It was suggested that the penning of a lucrative five-year deal shortly after his breakthrough led Januzaj to take things

Adnan Januzaj has branded the questioning of his attitude while at Manchester United as “stupid” and praised Jose Mourinho despite being offloaded. Having slipped down the pecking order under Van Gaal, Januzaj was loaned out to Sunderland once Mourinho inherited the managerial reins.

Fans are warming to Januzaj too. They are realising that the languid style does not come from a lack of application. 'It's the way I am,' he says. 'It seems that I'm not switched on but that's just my style of play. I am always alert and want to win.'

Real Sociedad have not started as well in the league since they ended up runners-up in 2003. They also have the Europa League to contest and that, in part, is thanks to Januzaj.

a man holding a football ball on a field: Januzaj celebrates after scoring a crucial free-kick against Atletico Madrid last season © Provided by Daily Mail Januzaj celebrates after scoring a crucial free-kick against Atletico Madrid last season

The 25-year-old was hobbling through the last minutes of the last game of last season when he scored with a deft free-kick that levelled a game against Atletico Madrid - and got Real Sociedad the point that took them into Europe.

'The coach asked me if I was OK and I said yes but I was hurting,' he said of the moment when Alguacil decided to throw him on as a late sub in the final match with a European place slipping away.

'I went on and won the free-kick and scored it. I knew I had to hit it hard and low so it would either go in or take a deflection.'

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a group of people playing football on a field: Those in and around Sociedad believe the best is yet to come from the 25-year-old Belgian © Provided by Daily Mail Those in and around Sociedad believe the best is yet to come from the 25-year-old Belgian

There is a sense in San Sebastian that the best is yet to come from the winger who was once the player five different nations, including England, were fighting over.

The Belgian international says: 'I know a lot is expected of me because a lot of people believe that I can make the difference.'

He certainly proved that on Sunday, in the 1-0 win over Cadiz that left his team top of the pile after 10 games played.

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