Louis van Gaal Talks Marcus Rashford, Manchester United Transfer Policy and More

Stuart NewmanFeatured ColumnistMarch 5, 2016

Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal arrives for the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford in Manchester in north west England on March 2, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Louis van Gaal has insisted 18-year-old starlet Marcus Rashford didn’t save his job in the Manchester United hot seat.

Rashford scored twice in the 5-1 win over FC Midtjylland in the UEFA Europa League before bagging another brace in the 3-2 victory over Arsenal on Sunday to lift the gloom from Old Trafford.

However, Van Gaal told reporters the youngster’s emergence isn’t what’s kept him in charge but that instead it's the club’s policy of giving youth players a chance, per Simon Peach of the Press Association (h/t MailOnline):

(The young players) want to prove and they want to show to the world, to the manager, to everybody, that they are the best, so they always give spirit to a team.

[...]

Now I have read that Rashford is saving me. No, no, Rashford is thanks to my policy, and the club, of course, [and he] has proved that.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Four wins out of four in all competitions has reignited United’s charge for a place in the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League, with the club’s young guns seizing their opportunities in the first team with a string of excellent performances.

Many fans criticised Van Gaal’s lack of spending in the January transfer window, as there were positions seemingly in desperate need of being filled.

Luke Shaw of Manchester United FC during the UEFA Champions League group B match between PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United on September 15, 2015 at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, The Netherlands.(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)
VI-Images/Getty Images

Left-back, for example. Injuries to Luke Shaw and Marcos Rojo looked to have left the Dutch boss without any options at the turn of the year, yet the emergence of Cameron Borthwick-Jackson eased supporters’ worries.

And Van Gaal said these successful arrivals on the big stage could see the club decide to have faith in the kids rather than splashing the cash in the transfer window. Besides, it worked with the left-back slot:

In January we took the risk for the left-back position that we didn't buy.

We needed a left-back and we inquired about a lot of players. Some have said it now.

It is always the agent that is doing that because it is interesting Man United is inquiring, but we said, "Okay, maybe Borthwick-Jackson and [Guillermo] Varela can do the job."

There was Spanish interest in Varela and we said no because of that.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 07 :  Cameron Borthwick-Jackson of Manchester United takes a throw in during the Barclays Premier League match between Chelsea and Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on February 7, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Catherine
Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images

However, Van Gaal also admitted that having some experience on the pitch is important, as youngsters fail to find the consistency of seasoned professionals.

Even so, the Dutchman was quick to concede things are looking up at Old Trafford, with the teenagers forcing the old guard to raise their games:

Youngsters are not consistent, we are talking about consistency. There are of course exceptions like Martial, but that is a big exception.

Most of the players cannot show that every week, so it is a big risk, but, at the end, we are in three competitions still and the team has more spirit and the older players are coming back.

So we have a great momentum at this moment because we have discovered that a lot of players can play at this level and the older players have to compete with these youngsters.

And it's fantastic and that is also what I have experienced at my other teams, so I think it's always good to have youngsters in your selection.

Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal (R) shakes hands with Manchester United's Uruguayan defender Guillermo Varela (L) at the end of the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Watford at Old Trafford in Manchester
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Manchester United sit fifth in the Premier League, level on points with Manchester City in fourth, although their bitter rivals have a game in hand.

Victory away at West Bromwich Albion on Sunday will keep up the pressure on City, and if the kids once again prove they’re all right, the pressure will also be on United’s returning stars.