For all his obvious ability, few could have predicted such a meteoric rise for somebody who only scored his first Under-21 goal in the opening league game of 2013. From there, he never looked back. A polished display against Arsenal's youngsters nine days later prompted Sir Alex to remark that he was a future first-teamer and he ended up winning the Reserves' Player of the Year award.
Januzaj has been keen to stress how much his progress has been down to hard work and that is the basic requirement of all those hoping to follow in his footsteps. As we enter 2014, he is not only the ideal role model for his fellow teenagers at the club but also evidence that, while it is often relatively simple to identify talent, it is very difficult to predict if and when any individual will make a breakthrough.
Yet the message is clear that if, like Januzaj, you take your opportunity, the manager appears willing to invest his faith in the emerging talent at the club… even when the stakes are inevitably high at first-team level.
The opinions expressed in this article are personal to the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Manchester United FC.