Louis Van Gaal was praised earlier this season for his inclusion of younger players in his starting XI and on his bench. But in recent weeks, his youth stars have taken a back seat for a more experienced side as the battle to secure top four has heated up. What has happened to Louis Van Gaal’s ‘forgotten’ youngsters?
Northern Irishman Paddy McNair was a bright spark earlier this season and when he was given the opportunity to play in the first team, he used it wisely. Despite being new to the Premier League, he held his own. He was tipped to become a regular in the squad, but he has featured less and less. He was handed a new deal at Manchester United, keeping him at the club until 2017 and was even called up for international duty with Northern Ireland. Why has he disappeared? He is surely hoping that featuring for the Green and White army would have helped to reinstate his place in the club.
James Wilson’s pace has been his selling point for his manager. Wilson has featured twelve times this season, ten of them as a substitute. As he is considerably younger than his teammates in the same position, this is a no brainer. Paul Scholes has called for Wilson to do more for his side, and whispers of a loan move have also surfaced.
Tyler Blackett has been given a new contract this season, yet has only featured nine times for his side. He has hoped that his new contract will boost his chances of playing for his country. The last time Blackett started for Manchester United in the league was back in November against Arsenal. Will he start again before the end of the season, or will Van Gaal continue to use the same formation and squad that has proved successful?
Andreas Pereira has featured in just one league game this season – being subbed on for Juan Mata in the home game against Spurs. He has hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons this year, which surely won’t have gone down well with his manager. Louis Van Gaal is supposedly trying to ward off any interest from other clubs by offering the 19 year old a new contract at Old Trafford.
Does youth still have a place under Louis Van Gaal? For the most part, the players in question have been successful when given the chance. Why extend their contracts, or give them new ones if you did not believe in them? For the remainder of this season, however, it is hard to tell how often they will feature. But, come summer, Louis Van Gaal will need to consider the importance these youngsters will have in his side, as they will need to be playing regular football.