Louis Van Gaal is the first premier league manager to come out and say he wants his Manchester United youngsters to go to next summers European under 21 tournament. Several other premier league bosses including Roberto Martinez and Arsene Wenger have dismissed the idea, but Van Gaal`s comments will encourage the English FA.
The Manchester United boss wants Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and other United youngsters to be picked in Gareth Southgate’s squad for the finals in the Czech Republic at the end of the season believing it will help further their careers.
Van Gaal points to Adnan Januzaj`s recent spell on the Belgium bench and not keeping match fit.
‘For me as a trainer-coach of a club, I am very happy that Shaw is playing with the U21s. He played for the U21s while (Adnan) Januzaj was on the bench for the Belgium senior team. That is not a benefit for him, it was a two-week holiday.
‘He would have been better at the U21s. I think youngsters have to play. When they are free, they need to play. Shaw was also happy to be with the U21s as he needs match rhythm.
‘So it was good for everyone – the national U21 team, for me and for Luke.’
Rather than his youngsters having a rest during next summer, considering the world cup was only last summer, Van Gaal thinks these players will benefit from playing regular now just like his national team benefited in Rio.
“My defenders at the World Cup (who reached the semi-finals) Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Daley Blind had all played in the European Under 21 championship. It’s a good experience not many players have.’
Van Gaal clearly thinks that his younger players must keep playing and learning rather than sitting on the bench for their national squads or wilting under the pressure of playing for the full squad. Also their experience at playing in an Under 21 tournament will assist them greatly for world cup`s to come.