Former United man Peter Coyne believes Adnan Januzaj needs to take the opportunities that are given to him and be more of a team player if he wants to have a successful career at Old Trafford.
The Belgian has been recalled from his loan spell at Borussia Dortmund after a lack of games and scored twice for United’s under-21s on Monday night. Like many fans Peter was left puzzled by the decision to send him out on loan in the first place but asserts that the player needs to develop his game to become a regular at United: “I hate being negative but if you go back to the first couple of games of the season and Januzaj was in the team. He scored the winner at Villa and a couple of weeks later he was off on loan to Dortmund. I still can’t get my head round that.
“I think he’s had a lot of chances I really do and I don’t think he’s taken them. I’m sure the manager will give him a chance and I hope he proves me wrong. He needs to learn to play with the rest of the team and not just be an individual.
“It’s not just about dribbling, sometime you have to pass and that’s where your football brain comes in. Obviously he’ll probably get put on the bench and reintroduced slowly and Van Gaal might as well get him back here if he’s not getting a game at Dortmund.”
Peter, who made two appearances for United scoring one goal during the 1975/76 season still attends games at Old Trafford: “I’ve not been to the last few home games but before that I’ve been to loads. We were ticking along nicely and then we had a spell where it looked like we had some decent games that we could win but we got beat by Norwich at home and Stoke and Bournemouth away.
“If we’d have won those games we could have been right up at the top but the opposite happened. As soon as you start thinking like that in football it brings you right back down to earth.”
United have been drawn away to face Championship side Derby County in the FA Cup, a competition Peter believes they have a chance in if the manager puts out a strong side: “It all depends on what they want to do, first of all you have to see what sort of team the manager is going to put out, I hope he puts our strongest side out because it doesn’t look like we’re going to win the league and it’s going to be a fight to finish in the top four.
“The fans are going to want something and with United’s history in the FA Cup he’s got to put out his strongest team because they will. The manager has done some crazy things, away against Wolfsburg in the Champions League he picked an unbelievable team for a must-win game. Varela made his first start and experienced players like Ashley Young were left on the bench.”
Asked whether Louis Van Gaal is the right man for the United job Peter says: “I don’t think so, we all have our opinions but I’ve watched and watched to try and see what this philosophy is. They just get the ball up to 30 yards from the other team’s goal, anyone can do that if teams want to drop off but as soon as you put someone under pressure passing becomes more difficult.
“In the past we’ve had players who can receive the ball under pressure and do something with it. Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Cantona they could all do it but with our lads now when they get put under pressure 30 yards from goal the amount of times we give the ball away in the final third is unbelievable.
“Most teams drop off against us now and just hit us on the break, if you’ve got three strikers who can win a game on their own it’s fantastic but we don’t have that at the minute.”
With the transfer window now open again, Peter gives his opinion on who United should be looking to sign: “First of all you’d have to think about the sort of player who would want to come to United, I like the centre forward at Watford – Troy Deeney. I know his background is all with lower clubs but for me he’s a very confident lad and he holds the ball up bringing people into play.
“He’d be high up on my list but I can’t see him being on Van Gaal’s radar. There’s talk of John Stones and I think you have to, because if we don’t somebody else will. He looks like the best English young lad around at the minute so I’d definitely go for him as well.
“I do think we’re more in need of attacking players who are going to score goals. We’ve got Jesse Lingard and he’s done alright when he’s played but can you see him being in United’s team for the next ten years? I’m not so sure, the only way you’re going to find out is by just keep playing and playing him, then we’ll see how he develops.”