Adnan Januzaj must be handed first start under Van Gaal

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Manchester United youngster Adnan Januzaj made quite the impression at Old Trafford last season. Despite being just 18-years-old, the youngster was quickly seen as the shining light in a turbulent campaign under David Moyes. 

His brace at Sunderland was probably the standout moment for Manchester United fans in an extremely forgetful season, but the youngster - now 19 - has endured some sort of second season syndrome so far this term. 

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New regime 

Of course, we're still in the early stages of the season, but Januzaj's progress suddenly looks to have stood still after a quite incredible rise under the previous regime. It's not necessarily the teenager's fault, though.

Yet to start a competitive game under Van Gaal, Januzaj just hasn't been given the opportunities to impress. And when he's entered the proceedings, he's struggled to make an impression on the game, often looking out of sorts. 

Even in the Capital One Cup - a game Manchester United fans will want to quickly forget - Januzaj only arrived on the pitch after 20 minutes because of Shinji Kagawa's injury. The Japanese playmaker who Januzaj replaced that evening was ultimately sold just a week later, so the teenager can't be too happy with how things are working out right now. 

Tough times 

It's not really surprising, however, that the talented youngster is struggling this season. After all, the system implemented by Louis van Gaal doesn't suit him. Predominantly a winger, Januzaj's best attributes are taking on his opponents and harming the opposition with his pace. Currently, Van Gaal is playing without wingers. 

If the change of system has made things difficult for Januzaj, then the club's summer signings have made things even harder for him. Manchester United are undoubtedly filled with talent in their forward line; they have some of the best attacking players on the planet. 

After Radamel Falcao and Angel di Maria arrived at the Theatre of Dreams, Januzaj was pushed even further down the pecking order. It's not just that duo competing with the teenager: he also has to worry about Juan Mata, Antonio Valencia, Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie - all experienced international stars. 

This summer's World Cup - a first for Januzaj - would have proved a special one for the youngster as he featured for Belgium as they progressed to the quarter final of the competition. But, the tournament did him no favours at Old Trafford. 

He was used sparingly at the World Cup, and he's suffered since returning to the Theatre of Dreams. He returned to Carrington later than most, and he's been suffering ever since. 

But, things can quickly turn around for Manchester United's new No.11. He clearly has the trust of Red Devils legend and coach Ryan Giggs. The Welshman wanted him to take on his prestigious shirt; he can see the talent Januzaj possesses. 

And there's no reason to suggest that Van Gaal doesn't rate him. He may just be biding his time to hand Januzaj that first start. If and when Van Gaal hands Januzaj his chance, the youngster will be determined to prove his worth all over again. It may well spur him on. 

Everton clash 

So, with captain Wayne Rooney suspended for United's clash with Everton this weekend, is it time for Januzaj to start under Van Gaal? Perhaps - one year after the player's extraordinary brace against Sunderland - it's time for him to announce himself on the Premier League stage all over again. 

For the club's U-21 side, Januzaj has been making his mark. Against Sunderland a couple of weeks ago, the youngster was in terrific form as he struck a terrific hat-trick for Warren Joyce's side.

Once again for the U-21 side this past week, Januzaj proved his class as he scored a stunning free-kick. In fact, for 87 minutes with United on the verge of defeat, the youngster was fairly quiet by his high standards. By the end of the game, though, United had won 2-1 and Januzaj had scored one and created one. That's what special players can do. 

And this weekend is the perfect opportunity for Van Gaal to utilise him. Many, of course, will be expecting Juan Mata to enter the frame on Sunday, but Van Gaal should be bold and go with his exciting youngster. 

After all, Januzaj sees himself as a future No.10 and would relish the opportunity playing behind two of the world's best strikers in Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie. 

Everton are the perfect opponents for Januzaj too. Martinez's side are vulnerable at the back and they won't want to face the skilful and pacey youngster on Sunday. The likes of Phil Jagielka and Co. will have enough on their plate trying to stop Falcao and Van Persie. 

Januzaj, then, may well be the surprise package of the day. With Angel di Maria in the same team alongside him, the team will have the pace and versatility that the Old Trafford crowd crave. United fans love a player who can beat a man, and Januzaj is one of the best youngsters in the world at doing just that. His season may well be about to begin. 

Manchester United fans: Do you think it's time for Januzaj to start a game under Van Gaal? Have your say in the comments section below! 

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