Six Man Utd youth stars Van Gaal could call upon on pre-season tour
Manchester United have been linked with a host of Europe’s top players during this summer transfer window, with plenty of money seemingly likely to be spent in the coming months, but manager Louis van Gaal isn’t going to overlook his youth stars.
The Red Devils have a vastly rich history and blooding youth players into the first-team set-up and the Dutch boss has indicated that he plans to continue this tradition during the pre-season tour.
“I shall take a lot of youngsters with us to the USA. They have the chance to show themselves and then we shall wait and observe how they can develop,” stated the former Netherlands coach.
“You get your chances always, especially in pre-season and, when you grab that chance, you have maybe the possibility to join us next season.”
With games against Club America, San Jose Earthquakes, Barcelona and PSG set to be played in next month’s International Champions Cup, here are six youth players, of contrasting experience, who could feature heavily or make a breakthrough this summer.
United’s senior set-up may not have won any silverware this season, something they will look to overturn next season (5/1 with Coral for 2015/16 PL title), but the Under-21 outfit won their domestic league crown, with a Premier League trophy triumph.
Midfielder Rothwell played a key part in that title-winning squad, with the local lad having come through the United ranks since he was a six-year-old, and even captained the Under-18s on occasion.
Being able to run games from the centre is a quality which the senior Red devils have somewhat lacked, and a talent which this midfielder possesses in abundance, with his impressive performances for Warren Joyce’s Under-21s earning him an England Under-20 call-up in recent seasons.
Swiss-born shot stopper Pereira will be well aware of the situation regarding David de Gea’s future at Old Trafford, and he could look to exploit that by breaking into Van Gaal’s squad for next season, after helping the Under-21s secure silverware this term.
The imposing goalkeeper has the talent and drive to become a top stopper, and has progressed well over the past 12 months, possibly well enough to merit a place on Van Gaal’s tour squad.
One of United’s most promising youth products at the moment, with left back James having spent the past season on loan at Huddersfield Town.
With Luke Shaw unable to cement his spot as United’s regular full back on the left flank, and Daley Blind filling in form midfield, James has a chance of making a breakthrough soon, if he can maintain a steady progression following his loan stint.
With plenty of first-team experience under his belt already, flying English forward Wilson has captured the attention of the Old Trafford faithful at both senior and Under-21 level with his clinical eye for goal.
The promising attacker has much to learn to constantly feature under demanding Dutchman Van Gaal, but has gone the right way about things, and could potentially feature very heavily in the United States.
Hailing from Northern Ireland, versatile McNair was surprisingly introduced into the United senior starting line-up this season by a hopeful Van Gaal, and the highly-rated Ballyclare youngster didn’t disappoint.
Having been thrust into the spotlight this term, McNair has showed superb understanding and an astute capability of the top flight, with regular game time in pre-season surely set to follow his maiden senior campaign.
Brazil Under-20 star Pereira is currently on international duty at the Under-20 World Cup, having recently struck the goal which sent his nation into the semi-finals, but could still feature at his club’s pre-season tour next month.
Having been tipped as the latest Red Devils youth product to depart Old Trafford, after Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba, the Belgian-born playmaker has remained on the red half of Manchester and definitely looks set to be a star of the future, including next season (odds-on 1/4 for top four finish).