Januzaj was signed by United as a 16-year-old with a bright future in 2011. But after being promoted to the first team starting well in his first senior season, his performances started to deteriorate before being loaned out to Borussia Dortmund and Sunderland.
He finally exited the club for Sociedad in July 2017.
Now as he starts to rediscover the form that prompted the Premier League side to snap him up, the Belgian international has said that if it were not for Van Gaal, his career in Manchester could have been very different.
Januzaj told the Daily Mail: “There was not the same freedom. A winger needs that confidence, a manager telling you, ‘Go and take people on’. With him, it was a slow passing game.
“For some it was difficult. You could see some players were not enjoying the football.
“The manager and I had many difficult meetings. I was frustrated and everyone could see that I was not the same Adnan as the first year. I was sometimes even in the stands. When you work hard in training and then get left out, it’s hard for a young guy.”
“As a footballer, if you think too much on the pitch, it is never good. You need instinct in your play. When the ball came to us, we had to stop and think, “What are we going to do with it here?”, ‘I can’t lose the ball’.”