Once a name to merely throw out as an example of United's strong youth academy, Adnan Januzaj has become a legitimate option for David Moyes in the first team.
In his third English Premier League appearance to date, his first start for the Reds, Januzaj shined, scoring both goals for United en route to a 2-1 victory over Sunderland.
Winning the man of the match of award, the 18-year-old midfielder wreaked havoc on the Sunderland defense, showcasing his football IQ, technical skill and attacking ability.
His amazing match helped him amass a staggering 9.16 WhoScored rating.
After years of raving reviews, it's obvious that Januzaj is a talented footballer.
But where does he stand as a member of United's first team?
With Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Nani all struggling on the field—or to get on it—Januzaj should have plenty of opportunities to play in the sort of attacking wing position he played in against Sunderland.
While Shinji Kagawa deserves a shout and Danny Welbeck has been effective at times, Januzaj should immediately benefit from his breakout performance.
Kagawa has never seemed to be valued by Moyes, and Welbeck has always struggled due to his inconsistency.
It's unrealistic for Januzaj to start every game from now on and score twice a game, but there's no reason that he can't keep up his slaloming runs and pinpoint passing.
With bundles of poise on the ball and playmaking ability, Januzaj seems equally equipped to play the central attacking midfield position that Wayne Rooney is currently occupying.
Barring an injury to the Englishman, it is unlikely that Rooney will be replaced by Januzaj, especially after David Moyes vowed to keep him in his current role slightly behind Robin van Persie. (The Independent)
Nonetheless, if Januzaj shows some consistency, he should be an integral part of United's squad this season.
What will Januzaj's role for the Reds be by season's end?
Though United scored plenty last season, only two of the goals came from the out-and-out winger group of Nani, Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia.
Having a goalscoring threat from the flanks will be an invaluable asset for United, as Januzaj has already shown impressive finishing ability at just 18 years of age.
No, he's not perfect.
Chances are he'll be bullied off the ball a lot with his slender frame, and he received an unnecessary yellow card for diving vs. Sunderland.
But more important is the fact that he's an extremely talented player with seemingly world-class skill and composure beyond his years, playing a position that David Moyes is waiting for someone to seize.
That someone could certainly be him.
All stats and info via ESPNFC unless otherwise indicated.
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