Being the experienced and shrewd manager that he is, David Moyes knew that the decision to take charge at Manchester United Football Club - directly after the legendary Sir Alex Ferguson no less - was going to make his life a lot more difficult than it had been at Goodison Park with Everton.
However, even he couldn't possibly have known just how tall an order it would be to step into Old Trafford as manager of the greatest club in England, if not the world.
Heading into his second month at the club, two days before his first competitive game in charge (the Premier League curtain-raiser, the FA Community Shield play-off against Championship side and FA Cup holders Wigan Athletic) at United, Moyes will look back at the club's pre-season tour of Japan, Australia and Hong Kong with mixed emotions.
The club faltered on more than one occasion, picking up only two wins from five games and were even outplayed at times (especially during the 2-3 loss to Yokohoma F. Marinos and the 2-2 draw against Cerezo Osaka).
With Moyes' persistent inability to secure any of his transfer targets in the summer transfer window (so far) a nagging worry in the backdrop of the Scot's attempts to use the friendly tour to expedite the bedding-in process at the club and to communicate his tactical ideas to his players, you wouldn't be blamed for thinking that Moyes couldn't have gotten off to a more unconvincing start to his time at Old Trafford.
The fact that the Wayne Rooney situation looks like it is far from being resolved in the near future has added significant pronunciation to the furrows on the foreheads of United fans (if not Moyes himself), and the 1-3 loss in Rio Ferdinand's testimonial to a Sevilla side that finished 9th in La Liga last season has not helped matters.
However, all hope has not been lost for United fans as they ponder upon the prospect of competing in the Premier League without Sir Alex Ferguson for the first time, because the legendary Scot made sure to leave the club with a healthy squad boosted by the emergence of several promising youngsters.
While the Premier League has already seen the likes of Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Rafael & Fabio da Silva, Alexander Buttner, David de Gea and Daniel Welbeck play for United, the pre-season tour of the Far East provided fans around the world with the first meaningful glimpses of the qualities of last season's Reserves' Player of the Year, Adnan Januzaj, and tricky winger Jesse Lingard.
While Wilfried Zaha, Sir Alex's last ever signing for United, has arguably been the stand-out player of the club's pre-season preparations, and should be expected to feature regularly in the first-team this season, it will be interesting to see how Moyes handles the duo who, between them, appeared in each of the friendlies and scored a total of five goals, as the season progresses.
Even though United have made no major inroads in the transfer market so far, and could stand to lose the talismanic striker Wayne Rooney, they still do have a squad with decent strength in the attacking-midfielders and wingers department.
Shinji Kagawa and Anderson can be expected to play a more important role in the centre of the pitch than they did last season, and Moyes already has Nani, Antonio Valencia, Ashley Young and Zaha to choose from to while selecting wingers.
With Danny Welbeck also capable of playing on the left wing, and United still being linked with creative midfielders like Luka Modric, Cesc Fabregas and the offensive-minded Marouane Fellaini, it does not seem like Januzaj and Lingard will be able to force their way into Moyes' first team plans any time soon, despite having acquitted themselves magnificently whenever called on so far.
This could actually work out for the best, for both the club and the players.
As Moyes embarks on a new era in the club's history, his primary focus (after ensuring immediate success, of course) will be on creating the core of a team that can go on to last for the next decade, and Januzaj and Lingard can be assured of places in the Scot's long term plans for the club.
There is thus no reason for them to be thrown in at the deep end immediately.
It would be foolish for anyone to expect either Januzaj or Lingard to make 20 or 30 first-team appearances this season, and the prudent thing for Moyes to do would be to slowly phase them into the first team, offering them small glimpses of what life in the Premier League is like, before starting them in games.
This would allow the youngsters to adapt to the pace and physicality of the game at their own speed, and would not put undue amounts of pressure on them.
As for the club's point of view, considering that Moyes faces the intimidating challenge of competing with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City for the Premier League title, it would be an act of uncharacteristic folly to rest the club's title hopes squarely on the shoulders of the two relatively untried and untested youngsters.
Januzaj and Lingard have lit up the pitch with their superb skills and excellent vision on several occasions already, and they represent immense promise for Manchester United.
It is fair to say that they look like they could well be fixtures in the first team at United over the next decade, but the way they progress under Moyes will depend heavily on how he chooses to utilise them this season.
Used sparingly, they will be allowed to adapt slowly to the Premier League. Playing them as regulars against the likes of Chelsea, City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs would be a rude awakening for the promising duo, and should be avoided for the benefit of the players.
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