Made rapid progress in the second half of the 2012/2013 campaign to emerge as an influential member of Warren Joyce's Under-21 set-up.
Operating in a holding midfield role, his energy, enthusiasm, aggression and ability to snap into biting but fair tackles marked him out as a vital cog in the trophy-winning side.
Able to get around the pitch to sniff out danger, he made the position his own after also being used as full-back in the past and even in the middle of defence in one pre-season friendly.
Belgian-born but of Congolese descent, he arrived from Royal Antwerp after United saw off competition from Arsenal, Chelsea and Ajax in his signature. After racking up 18 starts and two substitute appearances for the Academy side in 2011/2012, he had to be patient before making his mark at Reserves level.
The tenacious tackler featured in the 2012 Lancashire Senior Cup semi-final against Blackpool at Moss Lane and showed admirable confidence by cheekily chipping his penalty in the shoot-out over Mark Halstead.