Belgian youngster wants to follow in Januzaj’s footsteps at Manchester United

by Tracey Germaine

Marnick Vermijl moved to NEC Nijmegen on transfer deadline day on a season long loan and this week, he has discussed how his loan spell has gone so far in Holland with VoetbalPrimeur.

The Belgian full back, who was arguably the most consistent performer at Under-21 level last season, may be bottom of the Eredivisie with NEC but he feels that simply playing football is more beneficial than staying at United at this point in his career.

“I play every week and can thus gain experience, to bring back to Manchester, hopefully next year,” he said.

At Manchester we’re expected to win every game. In the last two years we were champions in the league and the cup.  NEC is a very different world, but you also learn here as a young player, especially in big stadiums and in big games like against Ajax [NEC lost 3 – 0].

“This is better for my development than playing with the reserves in England.

Vermijl signed a new two year contract at Old Trafford last season. The decision to make that offer was taken while Sir Alex Ferguson was still in charge which gives Vermijl confidence in his future.

He continued: “It proves that he [Sir Alex] was confident. He was one of the greatest, if not the greatest manager ever. It made me feel good.

“I talked to him every day. It was not always about football but when it came to football, I felt that he was content and that I would get my chance. But there is incredible competition in Manchester. To develop myself further, NEC was the best step I could take.”

He also spoke about the amazing breakthrough that his compatriot Adnan Januzaj has had this season, describing him as ‘a talent that you only come across once in many years’, and hopes to emulate his progression at Old Trafford.

“In the beginning Januzaj had a hard time because he was not as physically strong as the rest,” he said.

“But everyone knew he could play football, so he has shown. They [United] are now reaping the fruits of their confidence. Technically he is so strong, it’s incredible. You knew it was inevitable that he’d be playing in the first team of Manchester United.

“Manchester is an ideal example of a top club where young players breakthrough. Everybody got chances under Ferguson. If it was not in the league then it was in the League Cup. In those games you had only to show that you were worth promoting to the other [first-team] players.”

So far, Vermijl has only had one chance in the first team, playing 77 minutes in the 2-1 victory over Newcastle United in the third round of the League Cup last season, but his close relationship with Under-21s coach Warren Joyce will put him in good stead for getting more minutes when he returns.

He added: “I talk with Warren Joyce [the u21’s manager] a lot on the phone. They sent someone over to watch me against Ajax. I spoke with him before the game. I noticed that they, at Manchester United, are well aware of what is happening here. They’ve said that they are very content with what they have seen of me.

“We are at the bottom. I do not think we belong there with our team … but we see at NEC in the past while a clear progression, both defensively and in attack.”

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