The Belgium international has struggled for game time and he would have been better off going to another English club

This weekend brought only a second loss for Borussia Dorrmund this term, but it went just like many others recently for Adnan Januzaj.

He was named on the bench for the German giants and only came on in the second half, failing to make much impact.

His master plan of gaining first-team experience to impress Louis van Gaal is not exactly going to plan, writes Rob Dawson of the Manchester Evening News.

In fact, he’s started twice as many games for United this season as he has for Dortmund and he left Old Trafford in August.

So if it’s true that it was Januzaj who made the decision to go then it would seem he’s made a mistake.

Very few young players go on loan abroad and come back to force their way into the first team.

Federico Macheda went to Sampdoria in 2011 when there was still hope he was more Christian Vieri than Massimo Maccarone.

But he scored just one more goal for United after his return and is now struggling to get a game at Cardiff. Rodrigo Possebon, too, was on the fringes of the first team before going to Braga.

Like Macheda and Possebon, the danger for Januzaj is the path that’s taken him abroad could lead to the Old Trafford exit rather than back into United’s plans.


You only need to look at the latest England squad to see that loan moves can be beneficial.

Of Roy Hodgson’s 21-man party, nine players had temporary moves away from the clubs where they are now regulars.

In all, 14 have had a loan move at some time or another during their careers.

There is a argument that experience in a foreign league should aid a young player’s development because they are exposed to different ideas and attitudes.

But if a Premier League club is loaning out a player in the hope they’ll come back better equipped to play in the Premier League then it’s logical that they should get their experience in England.

United have made good use of England’s league structure in the past.

David Beckham went to Preston while Danny Welbeck and Jonny Evans spent time at Sunderland.

Jesse Lingard is the latest to break into the team following temporary moves to Leicester, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby.

Will Keane, Lingard’s FA Youth Cup-winning team-mate from 2011, is currently at Preston while highly-rated midfielder Ben Pearson is at Barnsley.

Januzaj would have found his first-team opportunities limited at Old Trafford this season – although he wouldn’t have known then that Memphis Depay’s would suffer a dip in form and the forward line would be decimated by injury.

Asked about Januzaj last week, Van Gaal hinted it was the youngster’s decision to move to Dortmund as the transfer window drew to a close.

It’s easy to see why a move to Dortmund and the Bundesliga would have appealed. But he might have been better following Lingard’s and Beckham’s path to the top.