Adnan Januzaj has slammed former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal but is refusing to rule out an Old Trafford return.
Januzaj left the Red Devils in 2017 after six years at the club. He came through the youth ranks before making his debut in 2013 under David Moyes.
The Scottish tactician gave the Belgium international plenty of opportunities despite his tender age. But the arrival of Van Gaal in July 2014 saw a change in the youngster’s fortunes.
He made just seven starts among 18 Premier League outings in 2014-2015 and the writing was on the wall. Loans to Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland followed before he penned terms with Real Sociedad in July 2017.
The 26-year-old has seen much more action for the La Liga side, with 50 league starts and 85 outings. He has played 104 times in all competitions, scoring 16 goals for La Reales.
Next up for the winger is a trip to Turin to face United in the last-32 of the Europa League. The match is being played at the home of Juventus due to Spanish coronavirus restrictions.
Ahead of Thursday’s game, Januzaj has opened up about his time at the Theatre of Dreams. And he did not hold back when revealing what it was like to work with Van Gaal.
“When I played my first season at United and came through the academy, people were showing me love,” he told the Daily Mail. “The coaches were letting me enjoy my football.
“Then obviously when a coach comes who doesn’t show you love, it gets more difficult to prove yourself and be happy.
“When Sir Alex Ferguson was talking to us, he gave us a bit of hope. ‘Work hard, your time will come’. Even if you had a bad pass, Van Gaal would shout at you. For young players that isn’t good, you have to teach them.”
And it was not just Januzaj who felt the wrath of the former Netherlands coach.
“It wasn’t only to me but also to other young players,” he added. “To Memphis (Depay) also, he’s a great player and you can see he’s making a difference with Lyon in France.”
Options open for Januzaj return
United inserted a buy-back clause into Januzaj’s deal with Sociedad. It will expire next year and, when asked, the Brussels-born ace refused to rule anything out for his future plans.
“I don’t know,” he told The Manchester Evening News. “Football is football, anything can happen.
“I’m in the best moment of my career, I’m enjoying my football here, and then whatever will come for me, we will see.”
He also feels the current youngsters at United are lucky to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
“You can see Ole is really nice and loves the players from the academy,” he stated. “For young players like Marcus [Rashford] they are very lucky to have a coach like that.”