Norwich City's current academy predicament is doing a good job of separating their glass half-full supporters from their glass half-empty ones.

Those of a more optimistic persuasion are hoping Ken Aboh can be the answer, with a new contract offer on the table and fans incredibly keen for him to sign it. For many of the more pragmatic observers, the Aboh dream has long been dead.

But for them there's the promise of Eliott Myles, the 17-year-old to which ambitions of a wonder kid in the Norwich ranks have largely turned.

Myles has already played for the Welsh under-17 side, scoring three times, and earned the attention of Premier League clubs across the country. He played for the club's under-18s for four months as a 15-year-old, making his under-21 debut just over a year later at 16.

That was followed by a first professional contract three days after the rules allowed midway through January, with the Canaries very keen indeed to ward off advances from circling top-flight vultures.

In recent weeks he's become a regular for Alan Neilson's development squad, featuring in three consecutive games before the first month of the year drew to a close.

The most recent of those was a start against Manchester United's under-21s at Old Trafford, one of the grandest stages in world football, in front of more than 2,500 supporters.

It was no surprise that he took time to acclimatise, with his first meaningful touch coming four minutes into the game after floating on the periphery for its early feeling-out process. That touch helped ignite the first real passing move of the game, however, Myles' two deft touches key as City blazed through the centre of the pitch.

In the sixth minute he displayed a different side to his game; not the fleet-footed dynamism associated with an exciting young winger but a commendable willingness to fight. He was floored twice by United midfielders but still came away with the ball before looking for a team-mate.

Defensive weakness reared its head when he was too easily turned by James Nolan shortly thereafter, but he quickly looked a David Wagner-style prospect when he started a counter with his brilliant cross-field pass to Marcel McIntosh.

The Welshman's early bravery slightly reduced with Norwich 1-0 down, declining to take defenders on in a 14th-minute pass and choosing instead to lay off to left-back Guilherme Montoia.

A 20th-minute second for the hosts didn't help, with Neilson forced to adapt tactically and move Myles into an isolated front two midway through the half. He spent less time on the ball, but still could have been dangerous had the service been right.

The usually technically reliable Gabriel Forsyth slipped at the vital moment when he could have played Myles through on goal, before the two combined for a clearly pre-planned free-kick routine. The ball in was good, the offensive foul in the box not so.

Again the forward was left frustrated when Pedro Lima's ball in behind was too heavy for him to chase, as he was when an almost identical situation occurred a minute later. Shortly before half-time he was dispossessed easily by Reds defender Sonny Aljofree, as his bright start continued to burn out before the break.

At half-time he was an unfortunate casualty of City's need to redress the tactical imbalance that had left them 3-1 down after the first 45 minutes. He was replaced by Finley Welch, his final action of the half to be tackled by former Tottenham and England midfielder Tom Huddlestone.

The 37-year-old's status as the best player on the pitch highlights how big the jump is from Premier League 2 to senior football, with Myles' promising but imperfect performance evidence of the work still required to trouble Wagner's experienced squad.

But there is clearly talent there, and he will flourish if City use him correctly and he applies himself. The Old Trafford acid test wasn't a perfect one, but there's still plenty of time for Myles to become a Norwich City star.