The League Cup is a competition in which reputations are made, and young careers are established. Challenges won't come much tougher for Manchester United's future stars when they face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge tonight.
One of those handed a debut in the last round at home to Newcastle was Belgian starlet Marnick Vermijl.
Vermijl is a right-back, signed from Standard Liege in 2010 and is 20 years of age. He featured on United's pre-season tour, impressing in South Africa, and will be hoping for another start tonight.
What is working in his favour? Firstly, the fact that first choice right-back Rafael has played without a break as of late, and needs a rest ahead of the weekend's big match at home to Arsenal.
The reason Rafael has been in that position, is the lack of alternatives available to United at present, and that will work in Vermijl's favour tonight.
If the Belgian is given a chance and can stand his ground and impress against a no doubt lively Chelsea attack; which could feature Victor Moses and Marko Marin, then he will stake a real claim to be a genuine alternative to Rafael in the league and in Europe.
Other alternatives are of course Phil Jones and Chris Smalling. Both are predominantly centre-backs, but have played on the right for club and country. The problem for United at present is they have both been injured all season.
They are thought to be nearing returns, but Sir Alex Ferguson is playing his cards close to his chest with regards to both. It wouldn't be a complete surprise to see either feature, but no indication has been given so far as to their availability.
So Vermijl, a regular performer for United's under-21 side, will hope to prove his worth.
Given the superb production line of Belgian talent in recent years, it would not be a surprise to see him make a name for himself tonight if handed the chance.
Should United start Vermijl tonight? If not who should play at right-back?
image: © apasciuto