15. February 2021

Rob DawsonCorrespondent

Adnan Januzaj has revealed to ESPN that he has nothing to prove when he takes on his old club Manchester United for Real Sociedad.

Januzaj, 26, joined the academy from Old Trafford but left for Spain in 2017. United and Socied are in the 32nd round. The rounds of the Europa League have been decided by drawing lots. The first round, which will be played in Turin due to coronavirus restrictions imposed by Spain, is scheduled for the 18th. February is on the cards, but Januzaj stresses that he feels no extra motivation.

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I don’t have to prove myself, I know my qualities, Januzaj said in an exclusive interview with ESPN. I don’t have to prove to anyone how good I am, I just have to believe in myself, enjoy myself and be happy.

I’m very happy to be back there, in a club I love. As soon as I’m on the pitch, there will be no more friends, because of course I’m playing for another club now, and I want to win the game too. I want to go through my team. I’m really looking forward to being back on the field and seeing people, but once I’m on the field, there won’t be any friends.

Januzaj’s history at United is complicated. He first sat on the bench at Sir Alex Ferguson’s last game in 2013, and the following season he was a star in the youth team under David Moyes.

His performance in October 2013 earned him a new five-year contract and a place in the Belgian national team for the 2014 World Cup.

But when United replaced Moyes with Louis van Gaal in the summer, things only got worse.

Adnan Januzaj said there will be no time for friendship when he faces his former club Manchester United on Thursday. Photo: Quality Sports Pictures/Getty Images

I had Fergie and David Moyes, coaches who believed in me, but others came in and wanted some more experience in the team, Januzaj added.

I was a little boy, and when you’re a little boy, you have to shut up and do what people tell you.

I didn’t have enough strength to push myself. For example, when Van Gaal came in, I did one in six games, so it was difficult, and I thought: What am I doing here? In my first season under Moyes, I got some game time to prove myself. At Manchester United, the most frustrating thing was that there were no games.

After being a key player in Van Gaal’s first season in 2014-15, Januzaj was loaned out to Borussia Dortmund in August 2015.

Jose Mourinho replaced Van Gaal in July 2016 and Januzaj was almost immediately loaned out to Sunderland before finally severing his ties with United in 2017 with a move to Sociedad.

Januzaj was destined for a glittering career at Old Trafford when he was given a new long-term contract at the age of 18 in 2013, but looking back he said he would never have signed had he known Van Gaal would be at the helm in less than a year’s time.

If I could have decided to leave the club a year before he arrived, I would have, he said.

But at that point United wanted me to sign a new contract, and I thought I could stay there for years to come. If I had known those coaches didn’t believe in me, I wouldn’t have signed, I would have gone somewhere else and enjoyed my football.

At that point, all I wanted to do was get out of the club. I didn’t want to borrow, I wanted to be sold, so it was a really difficult situation. It’s an experience, and I know I won’t make that mistake again, just for fun and to enjoy my football.

frequently asked questions

What does it mean to have nothing to prove?

You don’t have to do anything else to show that you are capable, that you are successful, and so on. I did what I wanted to do, I have nothing to prove.

What does it mean to have something to prove?

Languages

Why do I always have to prove myself?

The need to prove oneself to others often stems from a time when one feels vulnerable, poorly accepted, underestimated or misunderstood. … We don’t need other people to justify ourselves when we already feel worthy and sufficient.

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