Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has brazenly stated that plenty of players will be on their way to Old Trafford next season because of his willingness to give chances to those who deserve them.
Speaking about the spate of young players who have made their debut in the team as of late, the Dutchman claimed it’s a precedent that bodes well for the future:
“When you have me as the manager, you have a lot of chances,” he said, per Colin Harvey of the Daily Star. “Also, a lot of players, because of that, are coming next season to Manchester United because they see that [I give them a chance].”
When it comes to young players, Van Gaal has shown an admirable amount of trust during his Old Trafford tenure, as we can see courtesy of this graphic from ESPN FC:
Players who made their Manchester United debuts under Louis van Gaal: pic.twitter.com/mDR4AZVpYG— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 2, 2016
While he’s been under scrutiny for much of the campaign, the recent decision to bring youngsters into the team has taken a lot of the pressure off Van Gaal, especially when you consider just how well Marcus Rashford has taken to life in the senior side; the 18-year-old scored four goals in his first two matches.
It gives everyone at the club a lift too. While big-name players get everyone excited, there’s nothing quite as special as seeing a footballer nurtured by the club’s academy making an impression in the first team.
As noted by Squawka Football after United’s 1-0 win over Watford in midweek, Rashford also seems a player willing to take opposition defenders on, which is a refreshing change from the monotonous, risk-free football that has plunged Old Trafford into a malaise at times this term:
No Premier League player completed more take-ons last night than Marcus Rashford (5).— Squawka Football (@Squawka) March 3, 2016
Buzzing with confidence. pic.twitter.com/dGaSITjWOk
United appear to value those traits too. According to Simon Mullock of the Sunday Mirror, the club are set to appoint Ryan Giggs as their next manager instead of Jose Mourinho, with the main motivating factor being the Portuguese’s awful record of bringing prospects through into the first team.
It’ll be fascinating to see who is in the Old Trafford dugout next season. Van Gaal is in the supporters’ good books at the moment, with the Red Devils enjoying a fine run of form. But for much of this season the team has seemed inhibited under his watch and on a couple of occasions the Dutchman has looked on the brink of getting his marching orders.
Should he depart at the end of the season, his use of youngsters is undoubtedly one positive facet of his management to be remembered.