Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal deserves credit for keeping faith in his youngsters, according to Graeme Souness.
His comments came after United’s 1-0 win over Manchester City on Sunday, with teenage striker Marcus Rashford scoring the winning goal for the Red Devils.
While the likes of Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial also impressed, Souness has given the Dutchman credit for sticking by the young players despite the fact that the club has come under heavy criticism throughout the season.
“I think United will be much encouraged by the way the young players played in the first half,” he told Sky Sports. “When City were going after them, it showed [United] had pace and imagination on the break. I think Martial is going to be an absolute star, given he’s only 20 years old.
“United were really good today, and I think the manager deserves much credit. We get after him all of the time but he deserves credit.
“Sticking with these young guys, I think we picked holes in playing the young ones all the time before the game, but they came good for them today.”
Naturally, supporters will be delighted that Van Gaal is continuing their proud tradition of bringing through young players, with a mix coming from their own youth system and abroad.
However, the issue this season has been a lack of consistency, and while a win in the Manchester derby away from home is certainly a huge result, Van Gaal needs to find a way to ensure that they build on that momentum after the international break against Everton at Old Trafford on April 3.
With their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League still alive and with their continued participation in the FA Cup, Van Gaal may well yet salvage something from the season.
While Souness is right in that he deserves credit for showing faith in the youngsters in such a big game, he must find a way to ensure that they finish the season in strong fashion which in turn could well prevent the club from looking elsewhere and replacing him in the summer even if they fail to achieve their pre-season objectives.
The likes of Rashford, Lingard and Martial will benefit in the long run from this season, but immediate results are what matter for a club of United’s stature.