In an away fixture at West Ham with very little positives, perhaps the stand out performance was from a player who was substituted in the 71st minute. For once Adnan Januzaj was showing signs he was returning to the form which earned him the famous number eleven shirt. He hugged the touchline and made some genuinely threatening runs down the left hand flank, in an attack that lacked creativity he was the one shining light and despite this he left the pitch with twenty minutes remaining.
The youngster has struggled to make an impact under Louis van Gaal this season, but over the last few fixtures he has began to find his form again. It’s been a slow and gradual process for Adnan with no real place for wingers in Louis van Gaal’s system, but there are signs, and for the moment they are just signs that he is finding his feet again. A constant threat against Carl Jenkinson on the left hand side the Belgian developed a great understanding with Luke Shaw and the two players seemed to be on the same wavelength through out the first half. The Belgian was one of United’s most threatening players and his imagination and telepathy with Shaw in the final third was an attacking rarity that you wouldn’t expect in a team full of 300k a week superstars.
Januzaj has previously stated that he finds it difficult to fit into Van Gaal’s system but he is determined to train hard to get more games this season. Speaking ahead of the West Ham match and reported exclusively in the Daily Express he said;
“I am enjoying playing a lot
“I am coming back to my best, so I am happy to have some games in my legs.
“We have to finish the season as well as possible”
Januzaj made his 50th appearance for United against West Ham on Sunday and his return to first team form should be an encouraging sign for his club. However, questions will be asked as to why van Gaal opted to substitute Januzaj in the second half when it was clear to everyone watching that Wayne Rooney was struggling in midfield. The addition of Fellani meant United opted for ‘route one’ football, lofting the ball down the pitch in search of an equaliser, Louis’ gamble paid off when the ball dropped to Daley Blind for a 93rd minute leveller. But for many United fans three points should have been on the cards in East London if they they opted to play their creative midfielders, Juan Mata and Ander Herrera were both unused substitutes. It’s clear to see that Januzaj has been working extremely hard in training, and he’s put himself into contention for a start against Burnley, perhaps this is what Louis van Gaal wanted from the youngster a new level of concentration? Yes Januzaj has a long way to go to become a top professional and many would argue he is just a cog in the wrong position for Louis van Gaal’s side. But progress is progress and the boy from Belgium is showing glimpses of the brilliance that lit up old Trafford during Moyes’ reign, hopefully he can do that a few more times in his career.