Manchester United travel to Southampton today with Morgan Schneiderlin in the squad to face his old club but, sadly not Luke Shaw. The full-back, who broke his leg at PSV Eindhoven, expects to fly back to Manchester this weekend and Louis van Gaal believes if he makes a full recovery, he can go on to become one of the most famous names at the club.
"Southampton have a very good youth system, but I believe in that sort of culture too," the United manager said. "This club has always been famous for giving young players a chance and we have to continue with that policy. When you see us in the Champions League with Shaw, at 19, Memphis (21) and Anthony Martial (19) it is clear we have the same aims. If you look at my career you can see I have brought a lot of young players through, not only that but major players who went on to be important at their clubs.
"At Barcelona, Xavi, captain. Iniesta, captain. The backbone of the club. At Bayern Munich there is Thomas Muller, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber. Bastian Schweinsteiger is now out, but the other three are still the guardians of the culture of Bayern Munich. Maybe when I am gone, Shaw or Adnan Januzaj will be the guardians of the culture here at Manchester United."
Van Gaal is on familiar territory here: he is rarely shy of advertising his success at previous clubs or his part in the development of players. "I am a coach who believes in youth and I think I have a very good eye for great talents," he claims, just in case anyone has missed the message.
But Januzaj has just been sent out on loan for a year to Borussia Dortmund, disappointing many who thought he could have been given more game time at Old Trafford. "He is still in our thoughts and plans," Van Gaal said. "We are following his progress in Germany closely. Just because Januzaj is out on loan does not mean he is not part of the future at Manchester United."
Angel Di Maria is no longer part of the future at Manchester United; last season's £60m acquisition is firmly in the club's past, and for Van Gaal that represents another reason for seeking to promote youth. "Ideally you want to bring up a player within the traditions of the club, and invest the time needed in his development," he said.
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