Young made an excellent start to his Manchester United career, only to be stalled by an injury at Fulham, after which his form never truly recovered.
The 27-year-old endured a poor Euro 2012 and then suffered a knee injury in the Old Trafford meeting with Fulham in August that condemned him to another two months out of the side.
In his absence, Ferguson has implemented a new diamond formation, without orthodox wide men, which in theory puts Young's place at risk.
However, the Scot believes Young will have spent much of his time out thinking about what might have been - and that should drive him forward in the weeks ahead.
"The opportunities are there for him," said Ferguson.
"Ashley has the opportunity to win things here. I don't think that's lost on him.
"I'm sure during the time he's been out he's been thinking about that.
"That's what players do when they've been out, they start thinking about what should have been and what can be for them.
"That will hopefully surface as the season goes on."
It has seemed both United and England have moved on substantially during Young's absence.
Yet Ferguson denies the £17million former Aston Villa player has become Old Trafford's forgotten man.
"I wouldn't say that," said Ferguson.
"It's always the same when a player gets injured. He's not there so they can be out of people's minds.
"But he has shown his qualities.
"Very few players can cross the ball as well as he can and his goalscoring ratio is very good for us.
"He got eight goals for us last season. You can't underestimate that, or forget it."