Louis van Gaal has saved Ashley Young's Manchester United career

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It's only pre-season, but Manchester United fans are full of optimism once again following the club's impressive tour of the US. 

Dutchman Louis van Gaal has already created his own identity at Old Trafford, despite the fact United are yet to even play a home game under him. That will, of course, change when his side run out at the Theatre of Dreams next Tuesday to take on Spanish outfit Valencia. 

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United identity 

And, the game will give the United faithful a chance to see the new system that Van Gaal has installed: the 3-5-2 formation that worked so well for the Dutch coach at this summer's World Cup. 

The identity that United lost in the David Moyes era already seems to have been found by Van Gaal. The Red Devils were in need of a change, and Van Gaal has quickly gone about his business. 

Saving Young 

And, while he's been at it, he's saved one of Moyes' flops. Ashley Young, who would've enjoyed a long summer's break following his exclusion from England's World Cup squad, has quickly proved he's out to impress in pre-season. 

In truth, the former Aston Villa star's career at the Theatre of Dreams looked near enough over after a number of inconsistent displays last term. Young, like Nani, Antonio Valencia and Co. struggled to make an impression in 2013/14, and was ultimately one of the player's expected to head out the exit door under the new regime. 

Things have quickly changed, however. It may only be pre-season, but Young may have just about done enough to prove he deserves one more shot at the big time. And, he can thank Van Gaal for a new lease of life. 

The system - that has handed Young a position at wing-back - suits him perfectly, which in-fact is a surprise. Many would have thought that Van Gaal's decision to scrap wingers would have been a nightmare for Young.

In-fact, it has been the opposite: Young has proved against the likes of Real Madrid and Liverpool that he has the attributes to play - and excel - in the role. His fitness levels - unlike Luke Shaw's - seem to be of the required standard, and he may well be a starter when United take on Swansea City at Old Trafford on the opening day of the Premier League season.

Young seems to have the intelligence to know when to get forward and when to defend, and he seems to be thriving in what may well prove the biggest challenge of his career. 

Nightmare for Zaha 

But, while Young looks set to turn around his Old Trafford career, Zaha's nightmare looks set to continue. The youngster, who was tipped for greatness when Sir Alex Ferguson signed him as Manchester United boss, just hasn't got to grips with life at England's most prestigious club. 

Last season, under Moyes, he failed to prove that he was worthy of a first-team place, and was consequently shipped out on loan. He would have been heading into this summer, however, with a new belief - a belief that he can make it at Manchester United. 

But Van Gaal's system has had the opposite effect on Zaha. The youngster's struggled to impress his new boss, and there doesn't seem to be a place for him in United's side. 

Unlike Young, it appears that Van Gaal doesn't trust Zaha in the wing-back position: he'd certainly struggle defensively. And, when the he has starred in the US, he's had to play in attack. 

But, in reality, does Zaha have any chance of securing a place up front next term? With Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck battling it out for places,  Zaha will be lucky to make the bench. 

If Zaha doesn't get out now, then he may have to endure another six frustrating months before eventually heading out on loan again. It's another potential disruptive season that he just doesn't need at this early stage of his career. 

Young has been handed a lifeline, but Zaha's Old Trafford career looks over before it's even begun. 

Do you agree Manchester United fans: Have your say below! 

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Ashley Young
Premier League
Manchester United
Wilfried Zaha

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