Once regarded as Manchester United’s brightest prodigy, Adnan Januzaj stunned the world with his scintillating debut in the Premier League, wherein he scored a brace to help the Red Devils come from behind to win 2-1 against Sunderland in 2013.
However, the fact that the Red Devils finished 7th that year, and Sir Alex Ferguson’s replacement, David Moyes, got sacked even before the season ended, somewhat derailed the young Belgian’s future.
But the major speed breaker of the 22-year-old’s career came the following summer, when United hired Louis van Gaal to take control of the proceedings at Old Trafford.
And now, in a recent interview with Daily Mail‘s Adam Crafton, Januzaj has pinpointed the Dutchman as the reason behind his failure at the Theatre of Dreams.
The Real Sociedad man blamed the 66-year-old manager’s style of play and tactics, claiming that they had a negative impact on his growth. The winger criticized the ex-Holland boss for gulping out the creativity from the team – the very reason for which Van Gaal was later sacked by the club.
Januzaj was quoted as saying: “There was not the same freedom. A winger needs that confidence, a manager telling you, ‘Go and take people on’. With him, it was a slow passing game. For some it was difficult. You could see some players were not enjoying the football. The manager and I had many difficult meetings.
“I was frustrated and everyone could see that I was not the same Adnan as the first year. I was sometimes even in the stands. When you work hard in training and then get left out, it’s hard for a young guy.
“It was not only me. As a footballer, if you think too much on the pitch, it is never good. You need instinct in your play. When the ball came to us, we had to stop and think, ‘What are we going to do with it here?’ ‘I can’t lose the ball.'”
After having fallen down the pecking order at United, the young attacker initially had to endure strenuous loan spells with Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland, before eventually moving to Spain last summer, in order to resurrect his career and prove his critics wrong.
Written by Sidharth Jindal
Sports fanatic with a passion for writing (predominantly football) and “Wants to live life to its fullest.” Writes about the Premier League on his personal blog.