Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has made five signings this summer with the arrivals of Memphis Depay, Matteo Darmian, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Morgan Schneiderlin and Sergio Romero, but it is the youth that vice-captain Michael Carrick is excited about. During Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Barcelona in the International Champions Cup, it was the youthful XI which replaced that starting XI 63 minutes into the match that won the match for the Red Devils.
Both Jesse Lingard and Adnan Januzaj scored goals against the UEFA Champions League winners, ensuring three wins in three matches this summer, which could be a good start for the Red Devils who face Tottenham Hotspur in the opening fixture of the new Premier League season in less than a fortnight. Louis van Gaal is keen to get some youth players involved in his squad and he certainly has some talented players at his disposal. Speaking to the official Manchester United website, Carrick stated his belief that there is a good blend of experience and youth in the current squad, saying:
“Developing young players is what this club is about and it’s what it should be about. Of course we want the best players from around the world because we want to be the best team, but you want the balance of bringing players through too. We’ve got a great record of doing that over the years and we’re doing that again, which is great to see.”
Carrick played just over 60 minutes in the 3-1 victory over Barcelona, partnering new signing Morgan Schneiderlin in the centre of midfield. It was a good match with the Catalan side test United from the off, with Luis Suarez hitting the post twice in the first half, then being flagged offside for what would have been an equaliser. It was Rafinha who scored Barcelona’s only goal of the match. Speaking about the match, Carrick stated:
“It was a decent performance. They’ve obviously got some great players and they’re tough to play against so it’s always nice to win. It’s a good habit to get into.
“We’ve got a strong squad with competitions in all positions. I thought the lads who came on in the last half an hour did very well. It’s not easy to come on like that and get into the game but they did ever so well so we’re very satisfied.
“There are always things you can improve on during these pre-season games. Our fitness is coming on, it was a third half of football really for me and there is still a couple of weeks until the Tottenham game which is the most important game to be ready for.
“I think everyone is looking okay and getting up to speed, and we’re taking something from each of these pre-season games which is important.”
United have some great talent in their current squad, and with the UEFA Champions League possibly being part of the upcoming season, providing United win the play-off, which will be drawn on Friday 7th August, more matches will be played at Old Trafford this season, meaning a bigger squad will be required. Angel Di Maria seems a likely departure this summer, maybe someone like Adnan Januzaj, Jesse Lingard or even Andreas Pereira will benefit from the Argentinian winger turning his back on the challenge that is the Premier League, opting for an easier Ligue 1 in France.
One thing is for sure, the future seems bright for Manchester United. Blooding in youth is part of the valuable traditions of the club, and that does not seem to be something that Louis van Gaal is willing to stamp out, which is a great sign. He seems to have hands on control over the U21 and U18 sides, also taking youth development seriously, which are all the important signs that the club is being run correctly. This season could be one where many more youth players are blood into the first team, and hopefully that will give them the experience and desire to earn their places in the first team, which is always a possibility.