Adnan Januzaj not good enough for Manchester United, says Phil Thompson
Last Updated: 19/03/17 7:42pm
Adnan Januzaj is never going to reproduce the initial ability he showed at Manchester United, according to Phil Thompson.
Soccer Saturday pundit Thompson watched on as Januzaj was one of several Sunderland players to spurn chances in the Black Cats' 0-0 draw with Burnley, which left them seven points adrift of safety.
Januzaj, 22, impressed in his breakthrough season at Manchester United in the 2013-14 campaign, but has since struggled and was sent out on loan to Borussia Dortmund before joining Sunderland for the current campaign.
The on-loan United winger has scored just one top-flight goal for David Moyes' side, also contributing three assists, and Thompson believes there is no hope of the player living up to his early Old Trafford hype.
We want it to go well because we want him back.
Jose Mourinho on Adnan Januzaj's Sunderland loan
"I don't think he's ever going to get back to those heights," Thompson told Sky Sports. "He fleets in and out of games and I think that's why he starts. They're hoping to get one or two moments of magic where he can create something or score a goal. He does produce it but he doesn't do it often enough.
"For a team like Sunderland, trying to get out of the relegation zone, I think that's where he lies. Even if he moves on I don't think he's ever going to produce what he did at Manchester United."
Jose Mourinho had insisted Januzaj has a future at Manchester United when he allowed the player to leave on loan in August last year.
"We care about him and we think he is a talented player," said Mourinho. "But to be in a squad with Memphis [Depay], [Anthony] Martial, [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, [Ashley] Young, [Juan] Mata would mean not many matches.
"So we cannot be selfish and have to think about the players; in this case Adnan. We see him every week in this country. We can compare performances. He is in the right place with a manager that likes him a lot. We want it to go well because we want him back.
Thompson is not holding much hope for Sunderland as a whole either, believing Moyes' spirited side are destined for the Sky Bet Championship.
"Sunderland were up for it until the dying moments of the game when they realised that this was going to end 0-0 which is not good enough for them," said Thompson, following Sunderland's draw with Burnley.
"Earlier on in the season you might have though 'alright we'll take a point', but not at this moment in time. They needed three points. I think they're doomed and I think after this David Moyes will feel the same."