Adnan Januzaj has reiterated his desire to occupy the no 10 role at Manchester United, although Louis van Gaal opted to start new signing Memphis Depay there during the impressive International Champions Cup victory over Barcelona in Santa Clara.
Januzaj, 20, displayed hugely promising signs during the short-lived reign of David Moyes at Old Trafford, though thus far has struggled to prove himself worthy of a regular starting berth under Louis van Gaal since he was appointed as the Scot's permanent successor last May.
He made just seven Premier League starts last season amid constant speculation over a possible loan move, but his chances of featuring more regularly in 2015/16 will have been suitably boosted by a late counter-attacking goal in the 3-1 win at Levi's Stadium last night (25 July).
Speaking ahead of that match, the versatile Januzaj claimed his preferred position is still just behind the striker. He may find regular appearances in that slot difficult to come by, however, with Depay seemingly set to feature there rather than out on the wing as many had previously expected.
"I like that position," Januzaj told The Mirror. "As a young player, I always played there, as a no. 10. Only in the last two or three years have I been playing on the wing and also sometimes as a striker."
Januzaj, along with United teammate Luke Shaw, took along a fitness coach to a recent holiday in Dubai and the Belgian international hopes they will both reap the benefits over the coming months.
Van Gaal's starting lineup for Tottenham clash
With the exception of Bastian Schweinsteiger, who was not risked because of a minor knock picked up during his debut against the San Jose Earthquakes on 21 July, Van Gaal revealed prior to the meeting against Barcelona that the starting lineup he selected would likely be the one he thought could play in the club's opening match of the new season against Tottenham Hotspur next month.
Starting XI: De Gea, Darmian, Jones, Blind, Shaw, Carrick, Schneiderlin, Mata, Young, Memphis, Rooney
On first glance, there are perhaps few surprises in that particular XI when you factor in Schweinsteiger's injury, Depay's central role behind captain Wayne Rooney and the absence of Marcos Rojo due to an apparent passport issue that has prevented him from joining up with the squad after a post-Copa America break.
The presence of David de Gea will of course depend upon the final outcome of the saga relating to his possible move back to La Liga with Real Madrid, although he is surely the only member of that team who could be set to depart Old Trafford before the transfer window closes.
Daley Blind's status as the starting centre-back partner for Phil Jones could be subject to change when Rojo does return to action. Club record signing Angel di Maria is unlikely to figure prominently in future given that he is supposedly on the verge of joining Paris Saint-Germain after failing to report for duty in the US.
Despite Di Maria's imminent departure, competition for midfield places in Van Gaal's 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 system is likely to be fierce with Ander Herrera, Blind, Marouane Fellaini and Michael Carrick set to jostle for position with Schweinsteiger and fellow summer signing Morgan Schneiderlin.
Johnstone, Valencia, Smalling, McNair, Blackett, Lingard, Fellaini, Herrera, Wilson, Pereira, Januzaj
United made 11 changes midway through the second half against Barcelona, with the above lineup featuring for the remaining 27 minutes of action and turning a slender 1-0 advantage into a decisive 3-1 scoreline.
Goalscorers Januzaj and Jesse Lingard seemed to make the strongest impression, although Chris Smalling, Antonio Valencia and Tyler Blackett will each hope to force their way back into the defence. Herrera and Fellaini, meanwhile, could easily slot into the first-choice midfield when required and the latter has frequently been used off the front in the past.
Following the respective exits of Radamel Falcao and Robin van Persie, James Wilson remains United's only frontline striker other than Rooney.
Van Gaal has already insisted that the "surprise signing" he hinted at earlier in July is not a forward, although it seems unlikely that he will be content to begin the season without at least one more addition in that area.
United face Paris Saint-Germain in Chicago on Thursday for the final match of their pre-season tour before hosting Tottenham on 8 August.