Thorpe lifted the famous trophy last term after starring at centre-back for the Under-18s but has found opportunities limited in that position after moving up a level.
Instead, he has started to make his mark in midfield and, at 19, time is still very much on his side.
"I have an idea about who can play where from how they handle the ball in training," Joyce explained to ManUtd.com. "Tom Thorpe has been a good example of that in terms of how well he's handled playing in midfield in a holding role.
"Tom can deal with the ball, his passing and decision-making is good and you see that in training, in the keep-ball session and other parts of the training. So I got the idea that he can do it.
"He will get opportunities to play at the back as well, it's just that we have an abundance of defenders as you can see. We could quite easily put out two complete back-fours, possibly three, and it's just the make-up of what we have got in the group."
The one new face in the squad this year is Frederic Veseli after switch from Manchester City and the Swiss youngster is another player who can play in a variety of positions. The teenager initially made his bow in a wide midfield role in the win against Bolton as a replacement for Larnell Cole, before reverting to a full-back slot and picking up an injury.
"Veseli is another defensive-minded player who can play centre-half, full-back or as a holding