Manchester United first team manager Louis van Gaal has backed Paul McGuinness’ Under-18 side for success in tonight’s FA Youth Cup fourth round tie.
We have in the Netherlands a structure that the best players have to play against each other so they can develop.
The Dutchman is a keen admirer of the development of youth prospects, and comparing the prestigious competition to similar opportunities in the Netherlands, Van Gaal feels the tournament cannot be underestimated for its importance in the development of youngsters.
With his native country renowned for their ability to producing high levels of talents at a tender age – demonstrated by the signing of 16-year-old Dutch defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah – he said:
“We have in the Netherlands a structure that the best players have to play against each other so they can develop. When you start in a competition like this, at this age, it's fantastic.
“You can develop yourself much more than if you play against local teams. I hope that a lot of fans will come to see our future."
The manager hopes supporters look the next potential star at Old Trafford, with costless entry granting an early look at the talented teenagers who could one take to the field in the Premier League or Champions League.
They are coming to Manchester United to play in the first team and I hope that they have that ambition.
Former Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Netherlands manager Van Gaal hopes the players aspire to follow the breakthrough of Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett – indicating the first-team opportunities the 63-year-old wishes to hand the youthful prodigies.
When questioned if he believes the current youngsters can look up his young defensive partnership of McNair and Blackett, the manager responded:
“I hope so, I'm doing that always in every club. It's also to inspire these lads. They are coming to Manchester United to play in the first team and I hope that they have that ambition. Now the moment has come that a lot of youngsters are playing in the first squad.”
Manchester United Under-18’s welcome Hull City Under-18’s to Old Trafford with a 19:00 kick-off.