Manchester United legend Gordon Hill says that Adnan Januzaj has got ‘big boots to fill’ after it was revealed that the Belgian would wear number 11 for the club this season.
Ryan Giggs retired in May and there has been much debate about who would wear the number eleven shirt – with some even believing that it should be retired. However, a photo taken at the club’s megastore today revealed that United are now marketing Januzaj as the player who has inherited the shirt, and Hill supports the decision.
“I’ve certainly nothing against young Adnan getting the number eleven shirt and wish him well in it,” says Hill, who wore the number 11 shirt for more than 100 games for United in the Seventies. “I hope that he doesn’t get stuck with the burden of having to feel like he’s got to be a winger like Ryan or I was because numbers don’t mean the same as what they used to. What I mean by that is that it doesn’t dictate your position like it did in years past, so I hope that he is able to forget the names and just concentrate on developing his own game, even if he has got some very big shoes to fill.”
It was 11 eleven years to the day since Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Manchester United and was given the number seven shirt. Like Ronaldo, Hill expects it will take Januzaj a little time to come to terms with the pressure. “He will be under the same kind of spotlight as Ronaldo was because although it’s just a shirt, there are a few numbers in United’s history which resonate with supporters who identify them with attacking players”, says Hill. “There are legacies on that shirt. You don’t need a name on it. The 11 is more important than the name and that’s something that he’s going to have to live up to.”