Jose Mourinho has confirmed Adnan Januzaj remains in his long-term plans at Manchester United but could not see him competing with the likes of Anthony Martial this season.
Januzaj was reunited with David Moyes on Friday afternoon when he completed a season-long loan move to Sunderland. The 21-year-old will be hoping to get his career back on track, which has failed to hit the heights he enjoyed under the Scotsman in 2013/14.
Despite performing very well in his breakthrough campaign, Januzaj failed to earn the trust of Moyes' successor Louis van Gaal, who opted to send him to the Under-21 squad in his first season and then to Borussia Dortmund on loan the next.
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He failed spectacularly in the Bundesliga, playing only a handful of games before cutting the 12-month deal short in January. Mourinho pointed a thinly-veiled dig at his predecessor, suggesting the Dutchman didn't care about the winger.
“He fits in my plans,” Mourinho told reporters. “That is why he is on loan at a Premier League club. If he doesn't fit in my plans, I don't care where he goes, if I don’t care which club, which manager, I just send him to Borussia Dortmund where he didn't play one match."
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'We cannot be selfish'
Despite clearly a fan of Januzaj's footballing ability, Mourinho said it would have been selfish to keep him at Old Trafford this season where he would have to compete with both Martial and Ashley Young for a starting spot. The Special One admitted Januzaj wouldn't get the playing time he needs.
“He is talented. But in same squad as [Anthony] Martial, Memphis Depay, Ashley Young, it would mean not many matches.
"We cannot be selfish. We have to think about the player and in this case, Adnan, and give him all the conditions to play well. We see him every week in this country, we can compare performances.
"He is in the right place with a manager who likes him a lot. Hopefully everything goes all right because we want him back.”
As good as Rooney
Moyes seemed delighted to welcome Januzaj to the Stadium of Light and looked back on his time as Manchester United manager, when he plucked the skinny winger from the youth team and threw him straight in the deep end. Coincidentally, it was against Sunderland where Januzaj announced his arrival, scoring twice on his Premier League debut.
"I actually thought he was one of the finest young talents I had seen,” Moyes said.
“He would have been up there with Wayne Rooney as a 17/18-year-old so I’m looking forward to getting him here.
"I’m hoping the Sunderland supporters see the real Adnan Januzaj and we’ll give him every opportunity to show that in the coming year."