Adnan Januzaj has explained why his chances of breaching the starting XI at Manchester United are better following his loan spell at Sunderland, noting that enduring a relegation scrap under David Moyes has hardened his overall mentality.
The youngster joined the Black Cats on loan over the summer after failing to secure a place in the first team under Jose Mourinho.
He has made 23 appearances in all competitions this season, drawing mixed reviews from supporters during a spell hallmarked by frustrating performances and the occasional moment of brilliance.
And Januzaj, speaking earlier this week, was quick to note that life at the bottom has helped him mature as a footballer ahead of returning to Carrington over the summer.
“I have always been working on my set pieces. In training sometimes when I have the chance to do it I take it,” he said.
“It is always a plus to score a goal or get an assist. You learn more when it gets difficult. First season I played a lot of football and it is also about confidence – when you have that from the manager you get better.
“We were used to winning games at Manchester United. You have to win. That is the result you have to get.
“You come to Sunderland and they always play for the battle to stay in the league.
“It is different. Mentally you have to be strong because you are losing games and drawing. It is not easy, that is hard but you learn a lot.”
Some players can come back from a loan spell at a lesser side stripped of confidence: nine months of defeat, nominal chances in front of goal and overall gloom can, somewhat unsurprisingly, plunge promising youngsters into a mire of doubt and uncertainty.
Hearing Januzaj voice the benefits of such a move, therefore, is a testament to his boldness and desire to impress at Old Trafford. Andreas Pereira, currently on loan at soon-to-be-relegated Granada, has gone though a transformative period of a similar nature, and supporters will be excited to see how the promising pair perform once they return for pre-season.