Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is proud to have continued the club’s proud tradition of promoting youth from within but has played down comparisons of the latest crop of stars to the ‘Class of 92’.
Injuries and a lack of form from his senior players has seen Van Gaal call on more and more youth as the season has progressed, with Marcus Rashford the latest academy product to shine.
Jesse Lingard has been a mainstay in the first team this season, while Guillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have come into the full-back positions.
Rashford has made a huge impact since making his debut in United’s round of 32 second leg against Midtjylland in which he scored twice, before backing it up with another two goals in his Premier League debut against Arsenal.
And while Van Gaal believes his team have what it takes to do better than last season’s top-four finish, he has warned against comparing his youngsters the club’s 1992 academy graduates, which included the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.
“I cannot predict that. Scholes, Giggs, the Neville brothers and Nicky Butt have already proved themselves. They were champions and so on,” he said.
“These guys are on the threshold of a new career and I am not a god, so I cannot predict. But some of our players do have a lot of qualities.
“They have to be open to their manager, the staff and to the older players who can guide them.
“It always starts with the player himself. It is not the manager – and I’ve said that today to a player again. It’s not me.
“I shall always give young players a chance – and then they have to grab it. That’s why I say it all starts with the player.
“The player has to be open for a lot of things, not only the tactical situation or the technical situation, but also how he stands in life.”