With Sir Alex Ferguson now retired, David Moyes has repeatedly said that Manchester United’s tradition of promoting youth to the first team is something he is keen to uphold as manager at Old Trafford.
Immediately, Moyes stayed true to his word and he appears to be aiming to follow in the footsteps of fellow great Scots Sir Matt Busby and Ferguson by giving the youngsters ample chance to prosper.
The Warrington-born playmaker has been the surprise package of the David Moyes reign so far scoring the first goal of a new era at United and notching three in total on the tour.
The 20-year-old played for the U21s last season in their title-winning exploits and also spent time on loan at Leicester City after making a positive impression during the 2012/13 pre-season tour, fitting in well with the first team squad.
Lingard has slotted in seamlessly this time around and his two goal salvo against the A-League All-Stars saw him become the toast of the town. His first was a lovely, composed finish early in the contest and it was followed by a fantastic strike in the second half where he arrowed a shot from the edge of the box into the top corner (see video).
Another goal in Yokohama has seen Lingard touted as a potential first teamer next season and while this may be a tad premature, he certainly has the talent to be a regular in the future.
Intelligent, penetrative and with an end product, Lingard can make a huge impression in the coming season, especially with options out wide limited to say the least.
The stand out performer for the U21s last season at the tender age of 18, Januzaj has already been tipped as a star of the futurem attracting the interest of Juventus and Barcelona.
He would have been awarded a debut for the first team last season had a defensive collapse not forced Ferguson into introducing Rio Ferdinand into the fray on the final day.
“Adnan is a beautifully balanced player. He’s only 18 and still to grow into his frame. But he has good balance, good acceleration and he’s a very good technical player.” Sir Alex Ferguson
The Belgian has a cultured left foot, a deft first touch and is extremely similar to Shinji Kagawa in and around the penalty box; intricate and illusive, almost gliding around the pitch.
He was easily United’s best player in the first tour match and impressed in a cameo in Sydney drawing widespread praise.
The youngster is definitely one for the future and is certain to be a key player in years to come. He seems to be a grounded lad and has shown much promise both in his play for the U21s and during the tour.
He could even make a breakthrough for the first team this season. As the old Ferguson mantra goes: “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.”
Zaha possesses the most experience out of United’s exciting trio of talent having played over 140 senior games for Crystal Palace. Naturally, expectation levels are incredibly high ahead of the exciting wingers first season with the club following a £15 million move in January.
The 20-year-old has certainly impressed in the early stages of the tour, coming a lick of paint away from scoring in his first appearance as a substitute in Bangkok and stealing the show in matches against the A-League All-Stars and Yokohama F Marinos.
After a season of dreary, ponderous and consistently below par by the likes of Antonio Valencia, Nani and Ashley Young, United fans have been enthused by Zaha who has a directness that United simply didn’t have last year. Beating the man and getting a cross in is his bread and butter.
He’s already been singled out for praise from former boss Ian Holloway, Gianfranco Zola and England manager Roy Hodgson and could be set to make a big impression down the right-hand side for United this season.
Zaha was an easy pick for man of the match against Yokohama and the ability he showed in creating the first goal was ever so reminiscent of a certain Portuguese Old Trafford favourite.
Few things excite United fans more than wingers with confidence, guile and ability. They’re ingrained in the clubs folklore; Best, Giggs, Ronaldo et al.
As United prepare for a new era under Moyes, the club not only have the world-class experienced talents of Nemanja Vidic, Michael Carrick and Robin van Persie at their disposal but a clutch of extremely promising young players ready for the big time.
It seems the 50-year-old Scot will be evolutionary rather than revolutionary and he appears somewhat unwilling to overhaul a successful and professional squad.
Who knows what the future will hold but sticking to the ‘United way’ and giving the youngsters whom many have coined the ‘Moyes boys’ will provide a platform for a long and prosperous tenure at Old Trafford.