Paul Merson has argued that Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has done a great job at the club with regards to bringing youth through.
Having opted to sign the likes of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria in his first season at Old Trafford, the Dutch tactician has changed his stance with the club this year.
Albeit gambles, United have signed Anthony Martial, Memphis Depay and Matteo Darmian with a view of building a squad for the future, while injuries have ensured that Van Gaal has had to dip into the club’s youth academy on more than one occasion.
The former Ajax and Barcelona boss has been heavily criticised at times this season given the poor results and lack of goals, but Merson has insisted the criticism has been harsh to an extent.
“I feel sorry for Van Gaal a bit,” Merson told Sky Sports. “He could have come into United and spent all that money on 28-year-olds, proven footballers who have won things.
“That might not have helped the club in the long term but it might may have delivered a trophy. However, in three years time it would leave the club in a worse place than they are now.
“But he hasn’t done that. He went out and has bought youngsters for the future and has given other youngsters a chance.
“It’s not the same as [Arsene] Wenger, who has been manager for almost 20 years. Van Gaal has been there for less than two, so it’s a completely different case.
“He has bought players for the future for United as a club. He’s not thinking of himself, he’s hoping they are going to be in a better position when he leaves.”
Marcus Rashford is the latest young star to become a hit with the senior side, as he has scored four goals in his first two games to join the likes of Donald Love and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson in the squad.
United face Watford at Old Trafford on Wednesday night, and Van Gaal will be desperate for them to build on their recent momentum and win four consecutive games for only the second time this season.