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Soccer-Januzaj gives United another glimpse of brighter future

Reuters

Dec 21 (Reuters) - Adnan Januzaj has been a rare breath of fresh air for worried Manchester United fans this season and the winger's first Old Trafford goal in the 3-1 win over West Ham United on Saturday will certainly not be his last.

The 18-year-old Belgian-born player was on the fringes of the first-team squad last term but an impressive pre-season led new United boss David Moyes to consider him as a starter.

He scored twice in his first start at Sunderland in October but since then has largely had to bide his time until Saturday's well-taken 36th minute goal after evading the offside trap.

"Adnan Januzaj is doing really well. We are always hard on him, we always want more but he is doing remarkably well. He can score goals, he is a real talent," Moyes told the BBC.

Ashley Young came on as a substitute for the youngster and scored a blistering third, his second impressive goal in a week following a spectacular effort against Stoke in the League Cup on Wednesday.

However, an inconsistent season from Young so far, along with Nani's patchy form, means fellow winger Januzaj can seize his chance to be a first-team regular.

A blatant dive in the mould of serial offender Young was the only negative for Januzaj, whose side lie seventh with the successful defence of their league title looking unlikely.

"We played well today. I'm a wee bit disappointed we didn't take some more opportunities and I was disappointed not to keep a clean sheet but we got done on the break," Moyes said, referring to West Ham's goal, which came after a mistake from Alexander Buttner.

"The job is to keep our head down and keep winning games. There is confidence among the players, we are creating a lot of opportunities right now.

"We would like to be doing much better, we want to be right at the top but we will continue to keep going."

Danny Welbeck opened the scoring midway through the first half with his first home goal in 14 months but later went off with a sore knee.

Marouane Fellaini missed the game with a back problem and could be out for a while if United decide he also needs an operation on his wrist, increasing the possibility of January recruits in midfield.

Moyes looks well stocked on the wing, though, if Januzaj continues his nerveless season.

(Writing by Mark Meadows; editing by Josh Reich)

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