Graeme Souness has argued that Manchester United are too reliant on their youth players and ultimately that shouldn’t be the case.
Louis van Gaal’s side defeated Everton at Old Trafford on Sunday to move to within a single point of Manchester City in fourth place with seven games remaining.
The Dutchman had youngster Anthony Martial to thank as he scored the winning goal, which was his eighth of the season as he has emerged as the club’s top scorer so far this season having arrived from Monaco last summer.
However, Souness wasn’t completely convinced by United, as he is adamant that they can’t keep relying on their young players to win them games.
“They weren’t convincing and it wasn’t particularly enjoyable for nearly 70,000 people here,” he told Sky Sports. “This is Man United relying on a 23-year-old Lingard, a 20-year-old Martial and an 18-year-old Rashford.
“This is Man United, one of the biggest football clubs in the world, and that’s who they are asking time and time again to get them out of a hole. Martial is Man United’s top goalscorer with eight goals. This is one of the top four teams in the world and they are relying on someone to get well into double figures.
“We are talking about a 20-year-old scoring eight goals as their top goalscorer. That’s how far they have come back. They have got to get three or four proper ones in at the end of the season.”
Souness went on to insist that results are ultimately all that matter for United at this stage of the season, and they can afford to sacrifice performances as long as they qualify for the Champions League and continue to progress in the FA Cup.
However, his opinion on the young players is up for debate as it could be argued that Van Gaal is doing the right thing by moving forward with a young core of players leading their rebuild.
Naturally, a club of United’s stature needs big-name players to add quality to the squad, but having struggled since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure, particularly with bringing through new players, many United fans will perhaps be pleased with the direction in which management is going.
If Van Gaal can add some top players in the summer, then he will undoubtedly be moving closer towards finding the right balance, and that is where Souness makes a valid point as they arguably lack that currently.