HARRY REDKNAPP ON VAN GAAL’S FUTURE
Do not believe hype about young players coming through at United
There has been a lot of talk that Louis van Gaal will find himself out of a job if Manchester United do not win the FA Cup this season. The idea seems to be that if they do not make the top four then Van Gaal needs to win a trophy to have any chance of being in charge come August.
Well, I am sorry, but that is an absolute load of rubbish. The Manchester United board need to know that Van Gaal is the man to take them forward, and one game against Crystal Palace should not decide his fate.
In my mind, he has done a steady job at Old Trafford. I am not completely sure he is the right man for Manchester United, but you have to remember how difficult that job was when he first came in.
Sir Alex Ferguson is one of the greatest managers in history, up there with the likes of Brian Clough and Bill Shankly, but the side that won the title in his final season was not a great team.
We have seen what has happened to them since under David Moyes and now Van Gaal, and they look like what they are – a top-six team, rather than a top team.
That is partly inevitable when the likes of Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, Rio Ferdinand and Ryan Giggs move on, and we knew whoever succeeded Ferguson was going to have a massive rebuilding job on their hands.
After succeeding Moyes, Van Gaal has been doing that, and he has chosen to do so by bringing through a whole load of young talent.
Now, that is great, but I really do not see an absolutely fantastic group of youngsters coming through there, no matter what some will have you believe.
Marcus Rashford is clearly an exceptional talent, and I really hope he goes on to fulfil his potential. Anthony Martial is a good young player too, but he is entitled to be half-decent considering how much United spent on him.
But then what have you got behind that? Jesse Lingard? Again, a good player, but we’re not talking about a David Beckham or Ryan Giggs are we? Come on. There is no way he would have got into the United team a few years back.
There are others coming through, but I think everyone is getting carried away – we are not talking about anyone as good as Harry Kane or Dele Alli here.
I certainly do not think this is a generation that is going to come through and win you league titles, that is for sure. And I look around that United team and wonder who would have got into Fergie’s great sides. David de Gea is fantastic and would have a chance, but I do not know if you would pick him ahead of Peter Schmeichel or maybe even Edwin van der Sar.
Wayne Rooney is another who would be in with a shout, while Michael Carrick has been in great teams but is not getting any younger. Apart from that, I do not see anyone who would come close, and that underlines the problems United will face next season – no matter who is in charge.
I think they need at least two or three top-drawer players this summer, and it will be difficult to find them. Also, if they do decide to get rid of Van Gaal, then what options do they have? Jose Mourinho is the obvious one, but I am not sure I see many behind that. That being said, I do expect United to go on to win the FA Cup – although I do not mind admitting I would like to see Crystal Palace do it.
Having won the Cup myself with Portsmouth I know how much it means to sides who do not often get this chance. For a long time, it was the same four teams winning it every year, and they can get blasé about it. Palace will certainly appreciate it, having not been in an FA Cup final since 1990 – and I like them as a club.
Finally, the fact this is a repeat of the 1990 FA Cup final reminds me of my old mate Les Sealey. He was the goalkeeper brought in by Fergie as they won the replay, and he worked for me at West Ham.
Sadly, Les died of a heart-attack aged just 43. You could not wish to meet a nicer man, and I will be thinking of him a lot over the next few weeks.
Rashford is a real talent but are you telling me Jesse Lingard is the next Ryan Giggs?