Adnan Januzaj announced his return from a disastrous loan spell at Borussia Dortmund with some style, scoring a brace for the Manchester United U21 side during their 4-0 win over the Southampton reserves on Monday (18 January). The Belgian was making his first appearance since his return following his omission from the last U21 Premier League game against Reading on account of a lack of fitness.
The Red Devils reserves have now made it eight home wins on the trot as they chase down runaway leaders Sunderland, who are six points clear at the top but have played three games more than second-placed United. The Belgian international, who is aiming to make a return to the first team, put in a good performance against the Saints that would have likely impressed Louis van Gaal's assistant Albert Stuivenberg and training physiologist Jos van Dijk, who were watching from the stands.
Januzaj opened the scoring just before the interval with a low drive from outside the box following a dominant first half in which the United youngsters registered around 12 shots on goal. The lead was doubled less than 10 minutes into the second half through Will Keane, a January addition who arrived midway through his loan spell with Preston North End to add depth to the first-team squad's offensive department. The duo completed their brace in the 79th and 69th minutes respectively to give the U21 side their eighth home win on the trot.
According to the Manchester Evening News, despite the goals of Januzaj and Keane, the man of the match was Andreas Pereira, who pulled the strings from the midfield and was the livelier of the three. All three are pushing for game time with the senior squad, with the Brazilian also suggesting that a loan move was possible in order to get regular first-team football.