Adnan Januzaj has gained a reputation for being one of the best young players in the Premier League and for somebody who goes down too easily.
The 18-year-old has been kicked around in the Premier League where, on average, he has been the most fouled player this season – a trend which continued today as Figueroa became the 8th player to receive a yellow card this season for fouling him only a few minutes after he came on.
However, Januzaj needs to help himself and avoid making the same mistakes that Cristiano Ronaldo did back at the start of his career by going down too easily and making the most of a foul to try and get a free-kick.
Januzaj doesn’t want to get himself the wrong sort of reputation. I’m not sure I can remember Januzaj diving once in the academy but under the pressures of first team football, it is something that has crept into his game.
David Moyes has had his say on the subject and made his opinion clear again today when he screamed ‘get back on the pitch’ to Januzaj after he was on the end of a strong challenge. He didn’t like it when Ashley Young did it and the situation is no different for Januzaj.
A problem this creates for Januzaj is that there are plenty of times where he does get fouled and now, any referee is going to be suspicious that he could be going down too easily. Take the West Ham game for example. Januzaj had a clear penalty waved away after Mark Noble decided to blatantly push him over in the box but was booked for diving at a different time. The booking was right but the clear penalty wasn’t given.
The fact of the matter is that Januzaj does get kicked around a hell of a lot. Nine times out of ten when he is clattered with a foul, he brushes it off and carries on playing but in football. Yet, of course, that isn’t hailed in the press but it is the nature of the beast when you play in England (especially for United).
Ronaldo eventually limited his simulation and became a stronger player for it. Januzaj needs to emulate that. He is only 18 and on paper is ten years away from his peak as a footballer but the quicker he learns that, the better he will become.