Adnan Januzaj among 'the best I have seen', says Manchester United team-mate Darren Fletcher

The youngster was influential in the 2-0 victory over Swansea

Darren Fletcher has predicted a big future for Manchester United team-mate Adnan Januzaj.

In the absence of Wayne Rooney, the 18-year-old has taken on the role of United talisman and, though he did not score, was the inspiration behind Saturday's 2-0 Premier League win over Swansea at Old Trafford.

Fletcher was certainly impressed, and the Scot feels he has the potential to match any player he has worked with at United, which considering that number includes Cristiano Ronaldo is praise indeed.

"For his age, he is up there with some of the best I have seen, without a shadow of a doubt," said Fletcher.

"He is a great kid. There is no ego. He wants to learn and listens to advice he is being given. He just wants to go out on the pitch and express himself.

"Hopefully we have given him a platform to do that.

"The fans have taken to him straight away and he is making an impact. Hopefully he is here for a long time."

In what has turned into a tortuous debut season for manager David Moyes, Januzaj offers a genuine reason for optimism.

After three successive defeats, the youngster had a hand in the second-half goals for Antonio Valencia and Danny Welbeck that ensured the sorry run came to an end.

There was no chance of Moyes getting carried away though, not when he knew the failure of Welbeck, Shinji Kagawa and Chris Smalling to take clear opportunities prevented United from recording their biggest Premier League win of the season.

"We deserved to score more," said the Scot.

"There were chances. It is annoying me because we have to start taking them."

With a rare blank midweek, and an unwanted 52-year old record for successive defeats avoided, Moyes may be able to spend some time reshaping his squad.

The Scot has privately conceded up to 10 players may have to be moved on, with out-of-favour midfielder Anderson and defender Fabio set to be among the first to leave.

Rio Ferdinand and Alexander Buttner will surely not last beyond the summer, while Nani, Patrice Evra and even skipper Nemanja Vidic are on shaky ground as Moyes looks to build a team in his own vision capable of challenging for major honours, something patently beyond them this season.

Others have work to do if they are to salvage their United careers, among them Kagawa who, after a series of below-par displays, excelled in the second half against Swansea once he was switched into the central position he craves.

"He does relish being in there and he was fantastic in the second half," said Fletcher.

"He linked the play and was always available for me and Michael (Carrick) when we were on the ball. He receives the ball so well on the half-turn, was looking to create and make things happen.

"He will take great confidence from that. He is a great player and he is a big part of Manchester United."

It cannot have gone unnoticed either that Welbeck is flourishing in a central position, something that tends to be denied him when Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie are fit.

Given Sir Alex Ferguson had clearly resolved to move Rooney on last summer, something Moyes worked so hard to prevent, the question remains whether it would, in fact, be a long-term benefit for one of the big names to eventually leave.

Certainly there can be little doubt over Welbeck's present contribution, which now extends to six goals in nine games.

"It is a big improvement on last season," said Welbeck, who only found the net on two occasions last term.

"I have said it plenty of times, last season I was playing on the left wing, which is not really where I want to be.

"I am happy to do it for the team but if you put any striker out there it would be hard to judge them in terms of goalscoring."

Though the scrutiny may not be quite as intense, Swansea boss Michael Laudrup has his own troubles, with his side slipping ever closer to the drop zone after picking up just one point from their last five games.

In truth, the visitors never looked like repeating their historic FA Cup win of six days earlier.

"We went into this game motivated, exactly the same as the first one," said Laudrup.

"But we are very limited in numbers right now and if the characteristics in midfield that worked very well the other day were to be more complete, we should have threatened them more."

PA

News
people

Arts and Entertainment
JJ Abrams' seventh Star Wars, The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of Episode VII has gone online after weeks of anticipation
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special
art

Presents unwrapped, turkey gobbled... it's time to relax

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game