Thursday 7 January 2016

United recall Januzaj from Dortmund

United have terminated Adnan Januzaj's loan spell at Dortmund early because of a lack of games.

The young Belgian made only 12 appearances for the Bundesliga side, starting three times in a deflating spell at the Westfalenstadion, having featured in United's first five matches of the season.

The move seemed strange from the start and Louis van Gaal will hope that Januzaj, at least in part, will help to address the team's lack of spark and invention of late.

Van Gaal said in pre-season that he needed 'speed and creativity' and there has been little of it from his forwards.
Anthony Martial is having a comparable, albeit more spectacular, debut campaign than Januzaj's in 2013-14 and the 20-year old's return is timely.

Juan Mata's worrying form has opened up a vacancy on the right flank, whilst Ashley Young was enterprising there at the weekend but, strangely for a right-footed player, is more effective on the left wing.

Jesse Lingard is still sidelined but Januzaj's return provides Van Gaal with something he has not had this season- something different but also relative strength in depth on the wings. 

Where is Januzaj's best position in this United side?

Tried inside behind the main striker in August, he was outmuscled and proved a pushover and on the left he can be a bit predictable but on the right he is anything but.

Capable of turning defenders inside and out and beating his man with pace, it was his memorable cameo in the FA Cup quarter-final last season that inspired United to a late rally that unfortunately fell just short.

As early as last January, United rebuffed PSG and Everton's offers to loan him and PSG instead signed another left-winger from the club in Angel Di Maria.
Having made such impact in his debut season under David Moyes, only fleetingly did we see the Belgian at his best last season- he shone as a substitute in that aforementioned defeat to Arsenal and was as good as Di Maria was bad in the February win over Sunderland.

Having made an instant impact with a brace at the Stadium of Light on his full debut, Januzaj enjoyed a World Cup with Belgium in 2014 and he also inherited Ryan Giggs' iconic  no.11 shirt amid comparisons with our legendary Welsh wizard. 

He has enviable talent but must complement it with a dedicated application and mindset.

Twenty one next month, Januzaj has become complacent and snoozed through last season's wake-up calls, including an appearance at St George's Park for a Nike Under 19s Representative match.

It is time to knuckle down and show what I think he already believes: that he is the business. 

Januzaj is available with immediate effect and looks set to go straight into the squad for Saturday's FA Cup tie at home to Sheffield United. 

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