Louis Van Gaal's Record with Youth Bodes Well for Manchester United Youngsters

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentJuly 15, 2014

BRASILIA, BRAZIL - JULY 11:  Head coach, Louis van Gaal speaks to the media during the Netherlands press conference prior to their 3rd Place Playoff match between the Netherlands and Brazil at the 2014 FIFA World Cup at the Estadio Nacional on July 11, 2014 in Brasilia.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Sir Matt Busby and Sir Alex Ferguson are two of Manchester United's great managers. In fact, probably the two greatest.

A quick glance of their CVs and it's easy to conclude that they earned their reputations by winning so many trophies. That they are forged in silver.

But it's not the only reason. They have something else in common.

Both Ferguson and Busby invested in youth. They spent money when they needed to. But they had a desire to produce their own players.

Jon Super/Associated Press

Busby had his "Babes." Ferguson had his "Fledglings." It's no coincidence. They built successful teams around homegrown players. 

It's something they share with the next manager, Louis van Gaal. 

There's plenty for United fans to be excited about as the Dutchman prepares to settle into his new office at Carrington this week.

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 12:  Andres Iniesta of FC Barcelona adjusts the Captain armband as his teammate Xavi Hernandez of FC Barcelona leaves the pitch during the Copa del Rey Semi Final second leg match between Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona at A
David Ramos/Getty Images

He's won league titles in Holland, Spain and Germany. And he used the World Cup to show off his tactical intelligence.

But it's his record of promoting players from within that has already drawn comparisons with Busby and Ferguson. 

At Ajax, he won the Champions League with a team that included Edwin van der Sar, Frank Rijkaard, Clarence Seedorf, Edgar Davids, Marc Overmars and Patrick Kluivert.

In two spells at Barcelona he promoted Carles Puyol, Xavi and Andres Iniesta.

Bayern Munich have him to thank for Thomas Mueller, Holger Badstuber and David Alaba.

It's a record he told FIFA.com he's rightly very proud of.

They haven't forgotten me, that's for sure, because they're talking about me still. They have developed themselves fantastically well since we worked together, and these boys, Iniesta, Xavi and the others, have for many years been the basis of this successful Barcelona side. So I am proud, and happy too, that I still have a good relationship with them.

I saw these boys playing for Barca B and I brought them into the first team. This was the case with, for example, Valdes and Reina. They developed into top goalkeepers, as you can see at the moment. But I also brought on Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, and we shouldn't forget Thiago Motta, who you now see playing for the Italian national team. They all played in the youth team at Barcelona. I picked them out and they have developed very quickly and to a very high level.

Producing your own players is a difficult thing to do. But it's especially hard at a club that demands regular success.

That Van Gaal achieved it at Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich—three of the biggest clubs in the world—makes the feat even more impressive.

It bodes well for the young players at Old Trafford who are waiting patiently for their chance. 

YOKOHAMA, JAPAN - JULY 23:  Jesse Lingard of Manchester United in action during the pre-season freindly match between Yokohama F.Marinos and Manchester United at Nissan Stadium on July 23, 2013 in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan.  (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty
Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images

The squad chosen to tour the United States this summer will be revealed on Friday.

And it's likely to include Nick Powell, Jesse Lingard, Wilfried Zaha and Michael Keane. Perhaps even James Wilson and Tom Lawrence.

The pre-season tour, with some of the established stars still on their holidays, is an early chance to impress the new manager. To add their names to a list that already includes Seedorf, Xavi, Iniesta and Mueller.

They can be safe in the knowledge that, like Ferguson and Busby, Van Gaal tends to leave more than trophies behind.


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