Louis van Gaal has said the injection of youth players has energised Manchester United’s squad and praised the youngsters for how they are handling the situation.
Man United’s small squad, combined with our terrible injury problems this season, has seen lots of youngsters accelerated into first-team football including Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Joe Riley and now Marcus Rashford, 18, who has been added to the squad to face FC Midtjylland on Thursday night.
Despite the frustrations of not having a fully fit senior squad, van Gaal is happy with atmosphere the youngsters are helping to create in the dressing room.
“Of course that’s also why we had a small squad at the beginning of the season because you can then give chances to the young players,” the manager told MUTV.
“I’m always really convinced of youth players and how they can stimulate the other players and raise the atmosphere in the dressing room. Those kinds of things are happening now.
“I’m also always convinced that they play their first match very well and maybe the second, but when you get to the third it’s about consistency and that’s very important for youth players.”
The squad this season has split the fans. On the one hand, having a small one has allowed players like Borthwick-Jackson to break through where he would otherwise have never had that opportunity. On the other, it has left us weak against tough opposition where we once would have had top class replacements waiting on the bench.
You can see the logic behind both arguments and I suppose it’s all a case of balance so you get the best of both worlds. United this season have been plagued by more injuries than normal and that’s resulted in our problems, so you can’t really blame van Gaal for that I suppose.
Overall, there are genuine positives for having so many young youngsters around the squad and keeping senior players on their toes is one of them. Let’s just see what happens in the next two games to see if there is a real response to what happened in Denmark, then we can talk about how the squad looks re-energised by the influx of yet more youngsters.