Adnan Januzaj is determined to prove people who “were chatting sh*t about me” wrong.
Januzaj’s career has stalled after his memorable breakthrough at Manchester United under David Moyes in late 2013.
The Belgian scored four goals in his first season and established himself in the first team, but was marginalised under both Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho.
Loan spells with Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland followed, and he departed United permanently for Real Sociedad in the summer.
He was in our list of the top five wasted Premier League talents, but is using such criticism to fuel him.
“I gave up a lot,” he told the Independent. “Everyone likes to go out with friends and that kind of stuff, but I always had that mindset of football and people behind me that were very strict with me. My dad was very strict.
“He always told me: ‘Do you want to be a professional? Because this is how it is going to be.’ I wanted to be a professional player. Now, I give a lot of credit to him because he is the one that always pushed me further and further to try and become better and better.”
In spite of his sacrifices, Januzaj is often perceived as not having the right attitude or mentality – an accusation he strongly denies.
“These are the people that don’t know anything about football. I don’t care, I keep working hard. You can only go in one direction, and that is to shut those people up. Once you do it, they will look ridiculous.
“It will feel amazing, I will feel very good because those people were chatting sh*t about me,” he smiles.
“If anything, I’m even happier because it gives me more power. It gives me the feeling: I want to show these people that if they want to talk badly of me, I’ll show them. It’s a challenge for me, I don’t mind. They can say whatever, I know that it is not true.”