Januzaj returned from Borussia Dortmund after an unsuccessful loan spell at the German club and was expected to play for Man United’s U21s after van Gaal indicated he would.
However, he has now changed his mind which means Januzaj won’t feature at all.
Speaking at the press conference today, van Gaal said: “We have reconsidered and we think we have to build him up for the game and not risk too much by putting him in a game at once,” van Gaal said.
This U-turn is extremely confusing. Back in August 2015, van Gaal said this about Marcos Rojo playing in a friendly against Ajax for the U21s in order to work his way back to match fitness.
He said: “The only way is to play matches in the second team because that is the first step to coming back, so now seven or eight players have to play against Ajax, their second team, on Thursday because they also need to play 90 minutes.
“Rojo shall also play 60 minutes.”
Surely playing for the U21s is the best way for Januzaj to work on his fitness? Van Gaal said it himself.
This whole situation is a very strange one. Januzaj hasn’t played competitive football since December 12 but the only way for him to get back into the game is simply to play it. If he can’t do that for the U21s, who can he do it against?