Two goals in his first Premier League start for the senior side, in the 2-1 win at Sunderland in United's last match before the international break, gave the teenager the kind of debut all young players dream of. It was a performance reminiscent of the one that brought a young Rooney to the world’s attention in 2002, when the then-16-year-old scored a spectacular winner for Everton against Arsenal.
The England international, now aged 27, is one of the senior figures in the United squad and is happy to lend his advice to any of United’s other younger players, but he has particular words of wisdom for the Belgian-born youngster.
“You can help, of course you can, from experience you can tell them what to expect,” Rooney exclusively told MUTV. “Maybe now he might be expecting to play every game, which is not going to happen, but I think he’ll understand that and understand the way he has to come into the team.
“I’m sure he’ll do that and then obviously he has to help himself by performing so it’s a big challenge for him. But we see him every day, he’s got the talent so hopefully he can continue that form for the rest of the season.”
Januzaj’s match-winning performance at the Stadium of Light catapulted the 18-year-old into the spotlight, something that happened to Rooney at a slightly younger age, also while managed by David Moyes in his guise as Everton boss. Within 24 hours of his goals against Sunderland, Januzaj was being photographed while shopping in Manchester, the kind of attention that is part of the modern footballer’s life and something that Wayne has plenty of experience with.
“It’s a change, I’m sure. Some people enjoy it, some don’t,” added Wayne. “I don’t know what he’ll feel over it, but I’m sure he’ll get tired of it and he’ll want to be left alone. But it’s great, he deserves that attention for the way he has started the season and certainly for the two goals at Sunderland.”