Sunday 14 February 2016

United have D. Love but hearts are broken on Valentine's weekend

On Valentine's weekend, United manager Louis van Gaal found some room for Love in his first team squad on Saturday. 

The Dutchman doesn't strike you as a romantic though and was not getting sentimental- his hand was forced, yet again, by injury as he brought on 21-year-old Scottish Academy graduate Donald in the first half at Sunderland.

We might have had D.Love on Valentine's weekend, but it was Sunderland who ended up feeling rosy after coming away with three vital points to leave United heartbroken. 

The aptly-named Love did not look out place with a neat and tidy display complemented by a willingness to get forward from the back on several occasions.
After being handed a surprise call-up to the bench, it would have been an even bigger surprise for the young full-back when he came on, after 37 minutes, for dislocated shoulder victim Matteo Darmian.  

Three days after shutting out the noisy neighbours for the Under 21s, it was a proud moment for Love. 

Born in Rochdale to Scottish parents, the youngster joined Sir Alex's United aged seven and broke through into the Under-18 setup in the 2011/12 season.
Rising through the Old Trafford ranks, he signed professional terms in 2013 and made 18 appearances for Warren Joyce's Reserves side last season.
Love shone during the 7-0 rout of Norwich for the Under-21s last week and with United's defensive options severely hampered by injury, he impressed Van Gaal enough for the Dutchman to call him into his senior squad. 

Not only that, but the young Scot has been given a squad number for the rest of the season and has been named in the Europa League squad. 

Spending the first part of the current campaign on loan at United's North-West neighbours Wigan in League One- for whom he played eight times- Love has also been capped by Scotland at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 level. 

He joined fellow Academy graduates Jesse Lingard, Cameron Borthwick-Jackson and Will Keane on the field at Sunderland and became the tenth youth product to be given a senior debut  under van Gaal in his time in charge of United. 

Blooding 'da yoof' has been an integral part of the Reds history, and Van Gaal deserves credit for carrying on the tradition but- whilst his faith in the stars of the future has been admirable- results will ultimately prove to be the Dutchman's undoing. 

The answer to the quiz question: Who was United's right-back at Sunderland on Valentine's weekend 2016, well..... it must be Love, Love, Love....

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