Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has admitted that Adnan Januzaj's decision to join Borussia Dortmund on a season-long loan in the summer could be a mistake as the midfielder has struggled to get regular game time under Thomas Tuchel. The Belgian player was deemed surplus to requirements at Old Trafford and was offered on loan, and despite interest from Premier League clubs, he chose to move to Germany to play in the Bundesliga.
Januzaj has played just 160 minutes in the Bundesliga so far this season as he struggles to break into the team with the likes of Ilkay Gundogan, Marco Reus, Shinji Kagawa and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, all in top form. Dortmund have lost just twice in the league and are currently in second place, five points behind leaders Bayern Munich.
Van Gaal admitted that he advised the player of the risk involved in moving to a top club like Dortmund, who have players of a higher level than the youngster at the moment. But the Dutchman is confident that Januzaj has the ability to play at the top level and believes that the character necessary to deal with such a situation is as important as his natural talent.
"In a club like Borussia Dortmund, all the players there are also of a certain level and I said in advance that's a big risk for you because you have to compete with other players of a higher level and that is not so easy," the Dutch manager said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"It's the same thing as in Manchester United. He has to compete with higher-level players. I want him to play all the matches and that is why I want to play him also in the Premier League but he chose for Borussia Dortmund."
"We have to wait and see because now he doesn't play but he has the talent to play [on if the loan move was a mistake]. I am certain he has the talent to play but he has to learn a lot of things. Not only is talent important but also it is the character to develop your talent. And he can learn that," Van Gaal added.
Januzaj, however, will have to be at the Westfalenstadion until the end of the season, after Dortmund's sporting director Michael Zorc confirmed that there is no option of ending the season-long loan midway through the season.