Sunday 20 March 2016

City 0-1 United: Van Gaal's faith in youth continues to pay off

A lad from Wythenshawe sealed victory for United in the 171st Manchester derby at the Etihad.

Academies 1 Untold riches 0. Youth 1 Experience 0 City 0 United 1. 

In this bizarre topsy turvy world of Louis van Gaal, United fans have been grudgingly inhabiting that he has once again defied the odds when it's least expected.

It truly was do-or-die (again) for the Reds Champions League ambitions next season and, having had the unpalatable debit on his Old Trafford CV of a European KO by Liverpool, the Dutchman managed to engineer a derby win on away territory.

His credit column has finally got a decent addition in this campaign of angst.

With his future arguably on the line, Van Gaal showed that there is no room for sentiment in this game.

Martin Demichelis was a Bundesliga title-winning stalwart for the United boss at Bayern Munich in the 2009-10 season in Germany.

The 35-year-old Argentine was also one of the first picks for the Dutchman in his German rearguard for the 2010 Champions League final against Inter and knocked Van Gaal's Netherlands out of the 2014 World Cup in the semi finals. 
When the now City defender was in his pomp, Marcus Rashford was only just in junior school and slowly making his way in United's academy system. 

Six years on from his prime, Demichelis was targeted by Van Gaal for some old school United treatment.

Rashford probably watched both Demichelis big moments on the most prized European and World stages on TV in his Wythenshawe family home never daring to believe he'd cross swords with him one day in a Manchester derby.

Demichelis will now wish that dream had never become reality at the Etihad.

You can debate for the length of LVG's tenure whether Rashford would ever have got his opportunity had Wayne Rooney not been sidelined by his knee ligament injury.

Van Gaal has always stated that his captain has special privileges so you can guess that the young Mancunian might have been watching this at home like those other momentous moments had Rooney been available.


After his whirlwind start of four goals in two games, came the not unexpected tail off of form recently but Rashford was back on it big time at City.

In the shadow of the Blues much-vaunted £200m academy HQ, it was a reminder that United are still unrivalled when it comes to production line talent. 

A message to whoever eventually follows Van Gaal into the post that you ignore that history and interwoven tradition at your peril. 

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