With pressure mounting in the stands and column inches, David Moyes made perhaps his riskiest move of his short tenure as Manchester United manager on Saturday. It paid off handsomely.
The Scottish manager turned heads when 18-year-old Adnan Januzaj was named to the Red Devils' starting lineup over more experienced names like Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernandez. But the Belgian-born youngster responded with two goals in his first Premier League start to give United a come-from-behind 2-1 win over EPL cellar-dwellers Sunderland. Though United as a whole looked lackluster (except in defense, where they were simply awful), Januzaj was superb. Full of verve and energy, the forward incessantly buzzed around Sunderland's back four, popping up to cause them problems on a regular basis.
All that energy didn't amount to much in a first half where United found themselves down after just five minutes. But Januzaj turned his efforts into real results after the break.
His first goal was good:
His second had a touch of Bergkamp about it:
And that was that. Red Devils crisis temporarily averted, and a new star may have been born in the process.
Almost as interesting as Januzaj's rapid rise from United's youth ranks is his international status. Belgium coach Marc Wilmots claims the player has turned down multiple invites to join their international setup, Januzaj himself has said he prefers to play for his parents' home country of Albania, and Moyes interestingly revealed after his man of the match display that England has been inquiring as to ways to add him to their national team's setup (Januzaj has been a resident of the United Kingdom since joining Manchester United in 2011). With so much going for him, the key now for Januzaj will be to avoid becoming the next Federico Macheda (Remember him? The next big United star? Yeah ... he's on loan to Doncaster Rovers now.)