Manchester United's Bright Future: Zaha, Adnan and Fabio

Terry CarrollContributor IIIJuly 16, 2013

Adnan Januzaj: star of the future?
Adnan Januzaj: star of the future?Chris McGrath/Getty Images

In a frustrating and disappointing week, following the loss of transfer target Thiago Alcantara to Bayern Munich and the likelihood of losing Robert Lewandowski to the same club, there were two very bright lights on the horizon for Manchester United.

In an otherwise ragged and disappointing performance against Singha All-Stars, two players shone like a beacon: Adnan Januzaj and £15 million signing Wilfried Zaha.

We have raved about Januzaj in the past. He was deservedly United's Young Player of the Year last season, standing head and shoulders above his peers, despite joining the U21 squad at just 17. In fact, for a team that was often devoid of strikers, Man United often had to be carried by Januzaj and Nick Powell.

These are indeed the brightest of United's young prospects coming through from Carrington.

Zaha Stars

You can add to them Zaha (already known to manager David Moyes as "Wilf"). He may have only played for 30 minutes on a stiflingly hot Bangkok evening, but in that cameo he showed why people have raved about him and why he genuinely has the makings of the "next Cristiano Ronaldo".

Indeed, it is not even stretching a point to see him as the star of England's team in Brazil next year, so precocious is his talent.

Surely there can be no reason whatsoever to send him on loan again this season. In his ball skills, electric pace, awareness, crossing and especially a sublime curled shot that cannoned off the far post, he showed he was neither overshadowed by the occasion nor by his more illustrious teammates.

He also seemed to grow in stature between pre-match and post-match interviews. Before, and indeed on the journey from the UK, he had seemed nervous and overawed. After the match he knew he was in the right place at the right time.


Adnan Can

So to say that Januzaj was the star player on the night is really saying something. The lad can play a bit.

While Anderson had one of his better games, looking bright and incisive from the off, the eye was increasingly caught by the skill, precociousness, confidence and flair of the young Croatia-born Belgian.

He was impressive enough on the wing, but once he moved to midfield you could see he was far better than Anderson. Indeed, given that Thiago has at least a couple of years on him, you could begin to understand why Moyes might be interested in a different type of midfielder, one more established, if he's got Januzaj to count on for the future.

Young Januzaj is the real deal. If United can get him to sign a new contract he will be worth £25 million himself in a couple of years' time.

So all in all, on a night when the players found fitness and then exhaustion in the high humidity, with far too many passes going astray and no real cohesion, there were some genuine bright spots.

While Danny Welbeck huffed and puffed and came up short yet again, Rafael and his twin brother Fabio also showed enough to see how this young squad might develop. 

Fabio Can Be Fab

Fabio started on the right, and it was easy to forget that he played that role in a Champions' League Final. He looked a little rustier than his internationally successful brother, but when Buttner had to depart with injury, Fabio switched to his more familiar left-back berth.

Surely Moyes must look at Rafael together with what Fabio did at QPR last season and realise that he is the one with the potential to succeed Patrice Evra, whether or not the Leighton Baines deal is done.

So, a frustrating result, but if Moyes was looking for encouraging signs for the future, Januzaj, Zaha, Fabio (and of course Rafael) gave him much to enthuse over as he sets about reinventing United as an entertaining footballing side.

Meanwhile, surely other young players like Will and Michael Keane, Angelo Henriquez, Nick Powell, Marnick Vermijl, Ryan Tunnicliffe and maybe even Ben Pearson will get a chance this term?