Jose Mourinho can get the best out of Manchester United youngsters

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Louis van Gaal’s reign as Manchester United manager was certainly a mixed bag. Some players improved, some players declined, and some players just didn't even get a proper chance to shine.

Although United fans were introduced to several new faces last season thanks to Van Gaal, there were also a fair few youngsters that didn't shine under the Dutchman who could shine under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.

All is most certainly not lost for the Dutchman’s misfits, however, as Mourinho is likely to give every player a fresh chance to prove their worth to the side.


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In the past, opportunities for fringe players at United have been few and far between, whereas this season, when you consider that Mourinho will have to juggle an awkward Europa League campaign with a push to bring Premier League glory back to Old Trafford, it appears far more likely that there will be a greater chance for lesser-established players to show what they can bring to the first team.

Thursday night trips to obscure parts of Europe aren't going to be the only thing that forces Mourinho to utilise every player he has at his disposal. The need to get the most from every player also stems from Mourinho having a squad that, in places, severely lacks depth and talent.

One of the areas in the United squad that looks particularly weak is out wide, which is rather surprising when you consider last summer United splashed £31 million on one of Europe's most highly regarded wingers, when they signed Memphis Depay from PSV Eindhoven.

The Dutchman arrived at Old Trafford with a big reputation having finished his last season at PSV as the Eredivisie’s top goalscorer, helping PSV to the league title with 22 goals. Memphis made a relatively promising start to his life at Old Trafford, netting twice in the Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge, but since then, things have gone downhill for the winger.

If the 22-year-old is keen on forcing his way into the plans of Mourinho, he will need to improve his game drastically. Despite predominantly being a wide player, Depay does very little defensively, and that isn't go to inspire Mourinho to make him a first team player.

After all, during his last season at Chelsea, Mourinho controversially dropped their star man Eden Hazard because he didn't do enough defensive duties for the team.

Another tricky winger who’ll be looking to forge his legacy on the flanks of Old Trafford is Adnan Januzaj.

The Belgian was relatively unheard of until he burst onto the scene with two goals in United’s 2-1 victory at the Stadium of Light in 2013.

Januzaj’s United career has gone downhill since then though, and despite scoring the winner at Villa Park in United’s first away game of the season, Januzaj was sent out on loan by Van Gaal.

Januzaj failed to make an impression in his year-long loan at Borussia Dortmund, making only six appearances for the German club.

There was much speculation that Januzaj’s United career was coming to an end, however, it has been reported that the 21-year-old has impressed Mourinho during pre-season and will be given a chance in the side during this campaign.

Januzaj will be desperate to make the most of his second chance in the United side, building a legacy wearing the prestigious number 11 shirt previously worn by Ryan Giggs.

Young striker James Wilson also burst onto the scene out of nowhere, bagging a brace for the Red Devils against Hull City after caretaker manager Ryan Giggs handed him his debut.

Since that game, however, Wilson has struggled to break into the United side, but his short career has been sprinkled with relative amounts of success, proving himself as a natural goalscorer in the United under-21 side.

To some extent, it could also be said that, despite only scoring three goals, the Stafford-born striker enhanced his career prospects during his loan spell at Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion.

When it comes to strikers at Old Trafford, Wilson will start the season at the bottom of the pecking order, behind the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, and part-time midfielder Wayne Rooney.

However, if last season's sensation Marcus Rashford proved one thing, it is that no matter what reputation you have, if you show a knack for finding the net, you are going to be kept in the side.

At this moment in time, Wilson is very much in the shadows of Rashford, however, he must take inspiration from his young teammate and start replicating his goalscoring form.

Many United fans expected Brazilian midfielder Andreas Pereira to break into the first team last season, it didn't turn out that way though and the son of former professional footballer Marcos Pereira hardly got any football under Louis van Gaal.

Pereira was incredibly impressive in United’s youth team and caught the eye of many fans when he scored staggering goal, directly from a corner for the under-21 side.

In one of his few opportunities for the first team last season, the Brazilian did show glimmers of what he can do, firing home a fabulous free-kick when United beat Ipswich Town in the third round of Capital One Cup at Old Trafford.

Despite only having minimal first team experience so far in his career, there are many United fans who firmly believe that when he is given the chance, Pereira will dazzle in the Premier League.

There is little doubt that pre-season form should be taken with a pinch of salt, but in United's first fixture at the DW Stadium against Wigan Athletic, Pereira showed he had every intention of leaving an impression on Mourinho when the Brazilian rifled home a superb strike from the edge of the box. 

Mourinho brings with him to Old Trafford an unwanted reputation for not giving young players a chance, and United’s new manager has already adamantly tried to deny that young players have their progress scuppered under his tutelage.

Rather bizarrely in one of his earliest press conferences as United manager, Mourinho went as far as listing all 49 youth players that had been handed their professional debuts under his management..

If Mourinho really did want to turn the perception that he doesn't develop youth players into a myth, he should be inclined to facilitate the progress of somebody like Pereira or Wilson from a young player with potential, to a Premier League starlet and United regular.

Doing this would banish Mourinho’s unwanted reputation and would, more importantly, benefit his United side greatly.

Who will shine for Manchester United next season? Leave us YOUR picks in the comment section below!

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Wayne Rooney
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Premier League
Cristiano Ronaldo
David Beckham
Manchester United
Ryan Giggs
Jose Mourinho

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