Emerging youth has Louis van Gaal altering transfer plans

Manchester United’s cluster of young players has manager rethinking for the future

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates scoring his first goal against Arsenal last weekend. Photograph: Getty.

Marcus Rashford of Manchester United celebrates scoring his first goal against Arsenal last weekend. Photograph: Getty.

 

Louis van Gaal has said the recent emergence of Marcus Rashford, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Guillermo Varela and other youngsters will affect Manchester United’s summer transfer policy.

Rashford began his United career with four goals in his first two matches and the 18-year-old’s first-team breakthrough has been matched by a clutch of other young players.

The debuts of Borthwick-Jackson, (19), and Varela, (22), came in November and December, respectively, before Donald Love, (21), Joe Riley, (19), Regan Poole, (17), and Tim Fosu-Mensah, (18), all played their first game last month, along with Rashford.

Asked if this may change United’s strategy in the next transfer window, Van Gaal said: “Of course, yes. Also in January that we took the risk for the left-back position that we didn’t buy. We needed a left-back and we inquired about players. Some have said it now.

Under pressure

Van Gaal was under pressure following two successive defeats last month but the introduction of Rashford helped United recover from a first-leg deficit to knock Midtjylland out of the Europa League before he scored twice in the victory over Arsenal last weekend.

Yet the manager laughed off suggestions that the teenager had prevented him from being sacked. “Now I have read that Rashford is saving me,” Van Gaal said. “No. Rashford is thanks to my policy and the club, of course, has proved that. He is there because of that – and the same thing for Borthwick-Jackson, Varela, and a lot of other players. But they have to prove it because it is very risky to do that. Youngsters are not consistent, we are talking about consistency.

“There are of course exceptions like Anthony 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.” Guardian Service

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