Januzaj burst into the limelight after netting a brace against Sunderland back in October 2013, playing as a winger.
However, the Belgian struggled to nail down a place in van Gaal’s XI during the Dutchman’s first season as manager, making just 18 Premier League appearances and failing to score any goals.
Van Gaal moved Januzaj up top against Barcelona last week and his spirited performance, which saw him net Man United’s third goal of the match, could be a prelude to more appearances up front next term.
“I have given him a chance in this position and you have to look if he can do that or not,” Van Gaal said. “But he has a lot of quality and against Barcelona (in Santa Clara on Saturday) he showed it for the first time.”
Speaking after the 3-1 victory over Barcelona, Januzaj added: “We decided to do it because this season we have to do better than last season,”
“Last season, I didn’t have many games but this year I have to be fit and get as many games as I can.”
United supporters may be concerned about the development, as it means the likelihood of signing a world class striker – which is needed after the departures of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao – drops significantly, especially after it was also reported that Memphis Depay may play as a striker next season.
As for Januzaj, it remains difficult to tell how highly United fans should rate him. His debut season under David Moyes was a breathtaking highlight of an otherwise miserable season. But under van Gaal’s tutelage he looked desperately sapped of confidence.
Perhaps this new role as striker will help restore his status as the ‘boy who can do anything’ amongst supporters. At the age of 20, the Belgian has plenty of time to improve and a spell as striker will only accelerate his development into an accomplished attacking force for United.