The Belgium international has had a tough start to the campaign as he has been forced down the pecking order following the capture of Angel Di Maria from Real Madrid, but he is still one of the brightest young talents in the game.
Januzaj’s first season in the senior team came at a difficult period for United. David Moyes had just taken over the reins and was struggling to string together positive results. Despite this, the 18-year-old was one of the stand-out performers and even managed to cement his place in the team ahead of Ryan Giggs and Ashley Young.
In fact, his break-through campaign was almost identical to that of Cristiano Ronaldo’s.
Four goals and four assists in 27 league appearances is the same number that Ronaldo achieved in two more fixtures. The Belgian also only needed 123 minutes of league football to open his account, whereas his predecessor required 551 minutes.
Both are pacy wingers who can play on either side of the field. Both like to run with the ball and have the confidence to dribble past opponents. Both have the natural instinct to cut back inside and to play through defenders. And they even share the same birthday, 5 February.
Like Ronaldo, Januzaj has earned a reputation as someone who goes down far too easily and has been booked on a number of occasions for simulation.
In his third season at Old Trafford, Ronaldo was heavily linked with a transfer to Spain after he fell out with teammate Wayne Rooney at the 2006 World Cup. Now, in his third year since signing from Anderlecht, Januzaj has been linked with Everton and Paris Saint-Germain.
Should the 20-year-old Belgian continue this pattern and become even half the player that the current FIFA Ballon d’Or holder is then van Gaal will have one of the best players in the world at his disposal.
Di Maria has not scored a league goal since 5 October 2014, so it might be the opportune time to afford Januzaj some much needed minutes out on the pitch to aid his development.