ManUtd.com's Adam Marshall feels Adnan Januzaj's breakthrough offers inspiration to the club's Academy prospects...
It is traditional to approach any new year with renewed optimism and excitement and that should certainly be the case for the youngsters striving to make the grade at Old Trafford.
Adnan Januzaj's dramatic first-team impact has aided the Reds' cause significantly as his emergence has been one of the major positives of the first half of the campaign. However, David Moyes' decision to elevate the teenager has also had a knock-on effect throughout the club.
Every prospect I have spoken to since Januzaj's inclusion on the pre-season tour has used his breakthrough as a reference point and something to aspire to. Manchester United may be the champions of England and one of the biggest clubs in the world but opportunities will still be offered to the brightest talents being developed at the Aon Training Complex.
Sir Alex Ferguson had a fine record of blooding youth products and, of course, named Januzaj as a substitute for his last game in charge, at West Brom. But the fact Moyes has been so strident in explaining his responsibility to uphold the club's traditions in this area, describing it as a key strand of his job, will have given heart to all those who dream of pulling on the red shirt.
The new manager's belief in youth enables the Academy hopefuls to appreciate that their hard work could ultimately pay off with the most handsome of rewards. Furthermore, if they grasp any chance in a similar fashion to Januzaj, age will be no barrier to their involvement.
As 2012 drew to a close, Januzaj had not appeared for the Under-21s since the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa in November. For all the success of Warren Joyce's eventual title winners, the teenager had only been on the winning side once at that level. When the Reds' FA Youth Cup hopes were dashed by Burnley at the first hurdle at Old Trafford, he had been unable to work any of his magic and disappointed on the night.