Just two years ago, Adnan Januzaj was touted as a future world beater. Along with now Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney and outstanding goalkeeper David de Gea, Januzaj was one of the sole bright spots in David Moyes’ miserable tenure. The Belgian displayed an oh so silky touch, good speed, and had a keen eye for goal.
All of these factors led to a call up to the Belgium national team. Who would have thought that two years later, Januzaj would be booted out of the national team set up and struggling for game time at his club?
Januzaj was seen as surplus to requirements to Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal and has since then been loaned out to Borussia Dortmund. It was initially thought that this move could accelerate the young Belgian’s development with regular game time at a top European side. But things have not panned out that way at all.
Januzaj has been stuck on the bench for the vast majority of the season, only completing a full 90 minutes once. The winger has failed to start a single game in the Bundesliga and has started only two matches in the Europa League.
Perhaps the major problem with Januzaj and Dortmund is the fact that the pair were never a good match in the first place. Januzaj can be scintillating on the ball, but his work off the ball leaves a lot to be desired. The winger’s slight frame means it’s easy for opposition defenders to muscle him off the ball. Additionally, Januzaj is not one to track back and is often slow in closing down. Simply put, Januzaj’s playing style is the polar opposite to that of Borussia Dortmund’s.
However, this is not the only obstacle Januzaj is struggling with in Germany. Thomas Tuchel’s side have a wealth of attacking options at their disposal. From Ilkay Gundogan to Shinji Kagawa to Marco Reus, almost every attack minded position is well accounted for.
So what’s next for Adnan Januzaj? Well, there have been rumours circulating over a potential return to United as early as January. And while that may seem like the right move, nothing will change until Januzaj adopts a more hard working approach into his game.
With Euro 2016 approaching, the young Belgian ace will need to knuckle down in order to earn a place.