Louis van Gaal has made it clear that no Manchester United player will walk into his team this season and called on every player to earn their place through hard work in training.
Despite being juniors, Van Gaal has ruled out automatically demoting them to the bench in order to accommodate the return of a senior player.
“Of course [Phil] Jones, [Jonny] Evans and [Chris] Smalling were not available but I am always thinking that young players can take over the job.
“We have good youth players and we have showed that already, not only with McNair but also with [Tyler] Blackett, for example, and also with [Jesse] Lingard.
“When you mention [Wayne] Rooney, [Michael] Carrick and [Phil] Jones, of course they are great football players but we have more great football players and sometimes the other football players are doing better.
“Nobody is walking back into my team, believe me. You have to earn it on the training ground, but every player knows that. Believe me, it is not only [about] the name. Our youngest player McNair was outstanding in our last match.”
Previously Van Gaal has discussed Rooney having ‘privileges’ as captain but his latest comments now indicate that doesn’t mean he’s guaranteed a place in the team when fit, which is certainly the right thing to do.
When players get too comfortable about their position they get complacent. Back in the days where it was unthinkable to drop Rooney, he was guilty of doing just that but Van Gaal has now made it abundantly clear he is not afraid to leave a big name on the bench if it helps the team.