When Sir Alex Ferguson was managing Manchester United he, like David Moyes is currently doing with Adnan Januzaj, would provide youth footballers the chance to compete in a senior environment providing they had the talent to do so.
However, the main difference between Fergie's fledglings and Moyes' marvels is that there was an abundance of experienced athletes ahead of them, high on quality, who could assist in the nurturing process. For Moyes, United are a squad advancing in years, lack quality in depth and there was no real chance creator who could aid the 18-year-old Januzaj's development.
That was, until, the mid-season market when it became apparent that, with the right bid, overlooked Chelsea playmaker Juan Mata would be available for transfer.
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The £37m.1 player is already proving his value and has returned two assists and provided seven clear goal-scoring opportunities in just two appearances, or 175 competitive minutes, under the guidance of Moyes.
However, at 25-years-old and with a Champions League winners medal and a World Cup title to his name, Mata is a player who has experienced the very highest echelons of club and country football and, if Moyes has sought out Mata to act as a mentor for the teenage Januzaj, then little Adnan would be provided with a superb role model.
Speaking of Mata, Januzaj recently told MUTV: 'He is a great player and I think I am going to learn a lot from him. He is a technical player who is very clever. He scores goals and gives assists.
'We are very happy to have Mata at the club. I think he has settled in and he is happy and I hope he will be happy at the club.'
Player-coach Ryan Giggs, meanwhile, believes Mata has all the attributes to follow in the footsteps of George Best, Bryan Robson, Roy Keane and Cristiano Ronaldo into the Old Trafford all-time great list.
'He's obviously got the talent,' said the Welshman to MUTV.
image: © joncandy