Rene Meulensteen: Louis van Gaal forced into playing youngsters

by Tanveer Arayan

Former first-team coach Rene Meulensteen believes Louis van Gaal was forced into playing Manchester United youngsters this season.

Fourteen academy graduates have been given their senior debuts by the Dutchman with the likes of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Timothy Fosu-Mensah and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson flourishing since they were given then opportunity.

However Meulensteen, who worked with United’s youngsters during his time under Sir Alex Ferguson as the club’s skills development coach before he was promoted to thLouis Van Gaalinsists van Gaal doesn’t deserve any credit as his hand was forced.

“Louis Van Gaal obviously had quite a bit of money to spend but with injuries his hand has been forced to play a lot of young players through the academy,” he said.

“A lot of people are getting carried away with it but if you really look how many have established themselves you can only say that Marcus Rashford has made his mark in the first-team. All the other ones have come in then come out.”

Rashford, who scored his eighth goal in 17 games against Bournemouth on Tuesday, made his United debut against FC Midtjylland in February after Anthony Martial suffered an injury in the warm-up. But Meulensteen claims the van Gaal’s praise should be ignored as he’s quickly replaced other youngsters in favour of giving players like Antonio Valencia, Marcos Rojo and Marouane Fellaini regular starting roles.

Meulensteen along with the majority of fans have been disappointed with van Gaal this season, he’s forgotten how to entertain at Old Trafford and his tactics have often left supporters confounded. United have finished the Premier League with 49 league goals, our lowest record since we finished the 1989-90 season with only 46 goals.

Van Gaal effectively disregarded striker James Wilson before his loan spell at Brighton and I’m surprised Andreas Pereira has stayed at the club even though he hasn’t had much game-time on the first-team since he announced himself and scored his first goal for United with a beautiful free-kick against Ipswich Town.

It definitely raises eyebrows as to whether the Dutchman has intentionally handed youngsters with opportunities on the senior side or was forced into playing them.

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