5 Reasons Why Adnan Januzaj Shouldn't Go to the World Cup
Mirallas added that it would be more realistic for Januzaj to make his tournament debut at Euro 2016, which would be a preferred course of events for United.
Here are five reasons why Januzaj should not travel to Brazil this summer…
Januzaj Risks Burnout If He Plays at the World Cup
After impressing in his debut season at United, where he has been the shining light amongst the doom and gloom, the last thing Januzaj needs is a major international tournament.
He risks burnout in the early stages of the 2014/15 season if he does play in Brazil.
At just 19 years old, Januzaj is still developing physically. To play a 10-month season, compete at the World Cup and then play another 10-month season would take its toll quickly.
Parallels can be drawn with Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere, whose injury troubles more than likely stem from the sheer number of games he played at a young age.
Regardless, United would be wise to try and prevent Januzaj being included in Marc Wilmots’ squad. The youngster will no doubt have his chance to shine on the World Cup stage, but 2014 is four years too soon.
Januzaj Will Be a Better Player for Not Going to Brazil
It’s been quite clear this season that Januzaj is one of the most talented young players in world football.
Pacey, direct and with a bag of tricks, his potential is seemingly limitless. He could continue to play as a winger or make the expected move into the No.10 role in the near future. Either way, he still has much to learn.
And that’s why it would make sense for him to rest over the summer, work with United’s coaching setup and enjoy another full pre-season. That would be the best-case scenario for his short-term development.
If he hits the ground running next season, Januzaj could become one of United’s best, most important players very quickly. But that’s probably only possible if he doesn’t play at the World Cup.
Chelsea’s Oscar Serves as a Lesson to Januzaj and United
One of the most poignant lessons that United and Januzaj can learn from is the case of Chelsea’s Brazilian star, Oscar.
The precociously talented 22-year-old has struggled for form this season, mainly due to the fact that he hasn’t had a sufficient rest since joining Chelsea. In the last two years he’s played two full seasons of football and represented Brazil at the 2012 Olympic Games and 2013 Confederations Cup.
And he is all but certain to feature for Brazil this summer. That means that come the end of the 2014/15 season Oscar will have played three seasons of football with three international tournaments in the summers in between.
The start of that run came when Oscar was a similar age to Januzaj, and it’s abundantly clear the Brazilian is tired more than anything else.
There have been signs in recent months that Januzaj is struggling for a little bit of form, which is unsurprising. United would be smart to avoid a repeat of Oscar’s troubles by preventing him from playing too much football.
Liverpool’s Use of Raheem Sterling Shows How United Should Use Januzaj
One of the most worthwhile comparisons to make is with Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling, since there are many similarities between him and Januzaj.
Bright in the opening months of last season, Sterling tailed off toward the end of the campaign, clearly fatigued. Brendan Rodgers was acutely aware of that and has managed him well since, knowing when to unleash him and when to give him a rest.
It’s worked remarkably well, with Sterling playing top-class football throughout the season.
And that’s relevant because United need to learn how to use Januzaj, they need to learn how to nurture his talent.
Playing at the World Cup this summer would undoubtedly be a good experience for Januzaj, but he's already played a Champions League quarter-final vs. Bayern Munich. At United, he will constantly be playing with some of the world's best players at one of the world's best clubs.
So, much like Liverpool have done with Sterling, there is no need to rush things with Januzaj, especially if there's a feeling that he will somehow benefit from being a bit-part player at the World Cup.
United's New Manager Will Want a Fresh, Rested Januzaj for Next Season
The wider context to this argument, of course, is the fact that United are undergoing something of a transitional period. David Moyes was the man to give Januzaj the chance to show what he can do, but he won't be around to oversee his future development.
A new manager will be, and that manager will want a fresh, rested Januzaj ahead of next season.
If it's Louis van Gaal who takes up the role on a permanent basis, he will probably advise against Januzaj's involvement in the World Cup this summer. A manager renowned for his ability to develop young players, Van Gaal will more than likely look to incorporate the youngster into his plans for next season.
And he would prefer to work with Januzaj without the effect of a World Cup hangover, so to speak.
Ryan Giggs, United's current interim manager, is the man best placed to decide whether Januzaj should go to the World Cup, and would be able to advise Van Gaal should he take over. Having kept a close eye on him this season, Giggs will know if the 2014 World Cup has come too soon for the youngster.
There will be worse players than Januzaj to play at the World Cup this summer, but few will reach the heights that the Belgian star will in years to come. And for that reason, United should try and manage the youngster's long-term future by protecting him in the short term.