Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ability Aplenty, but Not Enough End Product Yet; PLAYER WATCH

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Ability Aplenty, but Not Enough End Product Yet; PLAYER WATCH

Article excerpt

Byline: Adnan Januzaj

COMPLETELY ineffective. Pace and trickiness, yes. But completely ineffective.

A heart the size of a pea. The next Federico Macheda. Take him out and replace him.

I won't repeat here everything I saw written on social media about Adnan Januzaj and his performance in Sunderland's Premier League defeat to Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday.

Something about shopping bags was particularly cruel, if funny.

And the thing about social media - especially the coliseum of Twitter - is that it's always easier to find criticism than praise.

Mind, even the praise - "Was I the only one that thought Januzaj looked pretty good tonight?", wrote one observer - came with a tinge of sarcasm. Didn't it? It's hard to tell any more.

What is clear is that if Januzaj - on a season-long loan on Wearside - divides opinion, the split is weighted heavily towards the critical.

Note: almost all the praise is hypothetical, about promise and potential.

Yet it only takes one recall to the starting XI - his first since Crystal Palace in September - to see why, and why there haven't been more.

The Belgian has a ton of talent: a nice touch, and when he turns and points at goal, he has an easy-onthe-eye, Waddle-like swagger, inviting defenders to duck and dive in before he nips the ball away and then...

Well, you know the rest. Like a film without an ending. Like any number of water-cooler TV series now that build and build and build and then, right at the end, well, you know the rest. Why did you bother? Januzaj has made 11 appearances this season, starting seven, scoring once and earning one red card.

Seven starts for a struggling, injury-ravaged team (to be fair, he had an injury of his own) managed by the one man yet to get a tune out of him, when he made his breakthrough at Manchester United. Now he has another such chance and, well...

Yet more of those injuries saw the 21-yearold (right) - and let's not forget he's 21, although how come he was better at 18? - recalled against Chelsea, supporting Jermain Defoe from deep on the right. …

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