Will Louis van Gaal's famed faith in youth be his undoing at Manchester United?

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When Louis van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford in 2014 he brought with him a famed reputation for giving youth a chance.

At Ajax, he introduced the world to two 19-year-olds that would go on to become Dutch football legends - Clarence Seedorf, a four-time Champions League winner with three different clubs, and Patrick Kluivert.

During his spell in charge at Barcelona, in the late 90s, he was responsible for giving future World Cup-winning superstars Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta their debuts, and rather ironically, given their now-frosty relationship, Victor Valdes.


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He demonstrated this again at Bayern Munich. Phillipe Lahm and Thomas Muller are part of the current Bundesliga champions team to have been thrust into the first-team by the Dutchman.

And last season at Manchester United, he gave Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair their first taste of the big-time, though one suspects that was more out of necessity rather than by design as United´s back-line were subject to a calamitous run of injuries.

Which brings us to the summer transfer window. United have, on Van Gaal's orders, splashed out a combined total of £66 million on a 19-year-old and a 21-year-old in Anthony Martial and Memphis Depay respectively, both of whom raw talents with a bright future.

It is a tremendous gamble by both club and coach, with respects mainly to Martial. Making a relatively unknown youngster with as little as 52 games of professional football under his belt the most expensive teenager in history is a bold move. 

And by handing the Frenchman the No. 9 shirt and Depay the iconic No. 7, Van Gaal has nailed his colours to the mast. He is saying to the world just how highly he rates the pair, and to the players themselves, he is declaring the high standards he expects them to reach.

In doing so, Van Gaal has staked his reputation on the pair. Failure on the part of either youngster to improve on their early promise could effectively cost the Dutchman his job and cast a huge shadow over what has been a highly successful, if often controversial, career in the game.

Should Depay replicate his form for PSV last season, where he scored 22 goals and won the Dutch player of the year award, or Martial prove to be the answer up front, then Van Gaal will undoubtedly be hailed as a genius.

Unfortunately for him, though, as seen at Bayern, it will probably be the next manager whom will reap any benefits of Van Gaal's brave strategy. However, with this addition of youth and pace, United fans can be hopeful of seeing the kind of exciting attacking football upon which the Dutchman built his name.

It promises to be an interesting season for both manager and club.

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