Louis van Gaal believes his faith in young players is serving him well as manager of Manchester United, he said on Friday.
Despite refusing as usual to discuss his future at the club, which as been the subject of repeated speculation this season, he said pointedly that a belief in youth was one of the reasons United appointed him two years ago.
“Manchester United believe in youngsters and Louis van Gaal also believes in youngsters,” he told a news conference ahead of Saturday’s home Premier League game against Aston Villa.
“That was one of the arguments why they have selected me. It is not new for me that this is happening but I am very happy that we have the ability to pick youngster from our academy.”
The club have traditionally believed in developing their own players, and youngsters Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Timothy Fosu-Mensah were prominent in Wednesday’s FA Cup quarter-final win at West Ham United.
Van Gaal added, however, that talk comparing Rashford to former Old Trafford hero Cristiano Ronaldo was premature.
“I don’t agree with that, although it’s fantastic what Marcus has done,” he said. “We have to wait and see.”
Striker Wayne Rooney, coming back to full fitness, is expected to play a part against Villa, who will be relegated if they do not win or if Norwich City win or draw against Sunderland.
United are fifth in the table and need victory to maintain their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.