Januzaj: I need to improve in this area to make United's first XI

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Adnan Januzaj says that he needs to improve defensively if he is to make the Manchester United first-team.

After breaking into the Manchester United first-team last season, big things were expected from Adnan Januzaj.

The fleet-footed Belgian was a bright spark in a dark season under David Moyes' stewardship last year as his performances showed that he was able to compete at the top level, despite his age. 

However, this campaign, it looks like Januazaj could be set to take a back seat. 

The 19-year-old was forced to turn out for the under-21 side on Monday night, but his reaction to playing at a lower standard than he has been used to will have impressed Louis Van Gaal.

Januzaj scored a hat-trick in a 4-0 success against Sunderland's under-21 team and he has shown a very good attitude to match his ability.

After the game the winger admitted that he was hoping to get back into first-team contention soon, but revealed that he needs to improve his game defensively if he is to be selected regularly by Van Gaal. 

Januzaj said to MUTV: "Of course, I played a lot of games last season and I'm trying to impress the manager once again and get games again this year as well.

"I tried to do my best. Obviously, even if it's reserves level, I always have to show myself and improve. I got a hat-trick but I think I worked hard defensively as well and these are the kind of things I have to do now and at first-team level.

"I don't do it for any other people but for myself. I look after my [performance]. Even if I have to play under-18s, I have to do it and try to improve every time I play."

Last season Januzaj's route to the first-team looked far clearer than it does at the moment. 

United had a dearth of quality last season, but van Gaal's big summer spending has rectified this problem. 

The likes of Angel Di Maria and Falcao have been added to a forward line-up already containing Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Robin van Persie meaning that Januzaj is competing with some of the world's greatest players for a first-team spot. 

The good thing for the youngster is that he should be able to learn off these players of undoubted quality. 

Di Maria is the new signing most directly comparable with Januzaj, given their favoured playing positions, and if the Red Devil's youth-product is looking to improve defensively then he will be able to learn lessons off his new team-mate. 

The £59.7 million signing from Real Madrid is renowned for his energy and his tireless work-rate and if Januzaj can add those characteristics to his attacking talent then he is on course to develop into a superstar at Old Trafford.

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