“I know I won’t make that mistake again.”
Adnan Januzaj has offered a refreshingly candid account of his struggles at Manchester United as he prepares to face his old club in the Europa League this week.
Januzaj announced himself in spectacular fashion at United under David Moyes, scoring a brilliant double in a 2-1 win over Sunderland in his first start for the club.
However, the Belgian failed to build on that early promise and struggled under Louis van Gaal before being sent on loan to Borussia Dortmund.
Januzaj also spent the 2016/17 season at Sunderland before being sold to Sociedad, where he has rebuilt his confidence.
United face Sociedad in the Europa League round of 32 on Thursday and Januzaj insists he has ‘nothing to prove’ as he looks to guide the Basque club into the last-16.
“I don’t have to prove to anyone, I know my qualities,” Januzaj told ESPN.
“I’m really happy to go back there, the club I love. Once I’m on the pitch, there’s going to be no friends because obviously I’m playing for another club now and also I want to win the game.
“I’m really happy to go back there to see the people.”
Januzaj, 26, was looked upon as an exciting prospect when he broke through at United but he hinted that his lack of progression at Old Trafford stemmed from Van Gaal’s lack of belief in his abilities.
“I had Fergie and David Moyes, coaches that were believing in me, but then some others came in and they wanted a bit more experience in the team,” he said.
‘I just wanted to leave the club’ – Januzaj on United struggles
“I was a young boy and when you’re a young boy you have to shut up and do what people tell you to do.
“I didn’t have the right coach to push me. For example, when Van Gaal came I was playing one game out of six so it was difficult and I was like ‘what am I doing here?
“If at that time I could have chosen to leave the club the year before he came then I would have. I would have gone somewhere else and enjoyed my football.
“At that point, I just wanted to leave the club. I didn’t want to go on loan, I wanted to get sold so it was a really difficult situation. I know I won’t make that mistake again.”
Januzaj has previously hit out at Van Gaal, accusing the Dutchman of being dishonest after the former Ajax and Bayern Munich boss said he and Memphis Depay were given plenty of opportunities to prove themselves at United.
“Well, Louis van Gaal. I really shouldn’t defend myself against him, the statistics say enough,” he told Het Nieuwsblad via Metro in June.
“Every time I made the difference with an assist or a goal, I was on the bench again afterwards. Memphis was the same.
“When he says he has given us enough opportunities, he is not telling the truth, it’s that simple.
“Fortunately, there are plenty of people at Manchester United who know how to appreciate me.”