Van Gaal was relieved of his duties following a disappointing 2015/16 season in which Man United only managed a fifth-placed finish in the Premier League, although he did win the FA Cup.
But the veteran boss gave opportunities to a number of youngsters such as Fosu-Mensah, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Marcus Rashford. Fosu-Mensah, 18, believes that he was lucky to have van Gaal as his manager.
”I can only speak for myself and, for me, van Gaal was good, the best I ever had,” Fosu-Mensah said.
“Yes, he was present and he talked a lot, but he was like that with everyone, with the aim of improving you as a player. He succeeded in doing that with me. I can notice that about everything.”
Fosu-Mensah really does look like the real deal. He has pace, power and he plays with an intelligence on the pitch that belies his years.
Another manager may not have recognised Fosu-Mensah’s talents and instead stuck with the ‘proven’ players and van Gaal deserves credit for being bold in giving him a chance.
There were plenty of things wrong about van Gaal’s tenure – his brand of football and inability to motivate the players to name a few – but his handling of young players was a huge positive. The hope now is that Jose Mourinho nurtures the youngsters who have come through.