‘At 16-years-old, Seedorf was more experienced than a player of 30-years-old’ said Louis van Gaal at his first press conference as Manchester United manager. Van Gaal believes experience plays nothing in football; it is all about ability in his eyes. This quote suggests Van Gaal will include young United players during his time at Old Trafford. Age is no certainly no barrier to Van Gaal; every single Manchester United player will be handed a chance to impress Van Gaal with their footballing ability and personality.
From Patrick Kluivert and Clarence Seedorf at Ajax, to Thomas Müller and David Alaba at Bayern Munich, Van Gaal is no stranger to handing young stars senior debuts. Not only this, but Van Gaal gave Carlos Puyol, Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez their Barcelona debuts at a young age, too.
Below is a list of 3 Manchester United youngsters that could thrive under Louis van Gaal.
#1. James Wilson: The 18-year-old was unknown amongst Manchester United one year ago. Wilson made just one appearance in United’s first team last season, but impressed as he bagged 2 goals against Hull City in a 3-1 victory at Old Trafford. Ryan Giggs was the man who gave Wilson an opportunity, following United’s tradition of introducing youth players into the senior squad. If Chicharito does end up leaving Manchester United as reported, Wilson could provide an eager and ready replacement.
#2. Adnan Januzaj: The 19-year-old featured in this summer’s World Cup for Belgium, and was one of the few positive aspects from David Moyes’ woeful reign at Old Trafford. Januzaj has plenty of room for improvement and a manager with the calibre of Louis van Gaal can definitely take the young star’s game to the next level. Adnan Januzaj is very versatile, who’s able to play in several different roles; the fan’s favourite can play on either flank or just behind the striker. Van Gaal will have to decide on a fixed role for Januzaj, who has a bright future ahead of him.
In 27 appearances last season, Januzaj racked up 4 goals, and won 53% of his take-ons. Additionally, Januzaj created 31 chances in his debut season at United. These stats can all be upgraded in the seasons to come.
#3. Nick Powell: In 2012, Powell introduced himself to United fans with a breathtaking 25-yard goal on his Premier League debut against Wigan Athletic. Sir Alex Ferguson, who handed Powell with his senior debut, revealed his appreciation for the Englishman in his autobiography. Powell, 20, can play as a striker or in an attacking midfield role. The ex- Crewe Alexandra player is strong on both feet, possesses a great technical ability, and has a deadly shot from long-range.
Powell enjoyed a loan-spell at Wigan last season, netting 7 goals, and setting up 35 chances.