Louis van Gaal must persist with exciting crop of youngsters to save Manchester United job

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Louis van Gaal has become something of an escape artist at Manchester United, surviving last chance after last chance at the Theatre of Dreams.

The latest addition to his repertoire of close shaves came against West Ham in the FA Cup on Wednesday. Pressure had been mounting on Van Gaal following the Red Devils' 3-0 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend, in which they lacked any threat going forward and conceded three goals within the space of six minutes.

The poor result, which saw United fail to make any ground in their chase for a Champions League spot, forced the media to question Van Gaal once again of his future and rumours that Jose Mourinho could succeed him.


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And yet, United battled to claim a surprise 2-1 victory at Upton Park, once again relieving the pressure on their Dutch manager's shoulders.

Quite how Van Gaal keeps managing such magical results has been the topic of some debate, but against West Ham, it became blatantely apparent what the secret could be to keeping his job this summer.

Home grown players progressing through a club's youth system and forcing their way into the first team picture is becoming more and more uncommon in the Premier League, with temptation to dip into the transfer market and spend millions on new players all too tempting.

However, Van Gaal seems more willing to gamble on youth than his bigger names - a refreshing change to the status quo in English football.

Injuries have arguably played a part in this, but talents like Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Timothy Fosu-Mensah have all impressed when shown trust and afforded game time.

Rashford has scored six goals in 11 games, Lingard has nailed down a starting role in behind the striker and ahead of Juan Mata, whilst early signs suggest Fosu-Mensah has great potential at right-back.

And the trio were at it again on Wednesday, with 20-year-old Anthony Martial also impressing and terrorising West Ham's defence. Rashford opened the scoring with a superb curling effort from outside the box, Lingard and Martial played a huge role in United's second, and Fosu-Mensah was defensively solid throughout, even despite lining up against Dimitri Payet.

It's thanks to the above youngsters that United still have hopes of winning a trophy this season and Van Gaal could yet stay as manager. Doubts remain about the 64-year-old, but his willingness to show trust in youth might just ensure his stay.

If Van Gaal steers the Red Devils to FA Cup success and into the Champions League next season, the club's board might feel he could yet lead them to glory.

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Wayne Rooney
Manchester United
UEFA Champions League
Europa League
Premier League
FA Cup
Cristiano Ronaldo
David Beckham

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