Manchester United's young midfielder Josh Harrop has admitted that Louis van Gaal's approach to giving youngsters a chance in the first-team is encouraging the youth team players to train harder in the hope of getting an opportunity to play with the senior squad this season. The Dutch manager has called up a number of youngsters to train with the senior squad ahead of their Champions League games and even named a few on the bench.
Jesse Lingard is the most notable youngster to have made progress into the first-team and seal a place, but apart from him, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcus Rashford and Sean Goss have made the bench and were unused substitutes, but 18-year-old Cameron Borthwick-Jackson was given a surprise cameo, when the Dutchman decided to introduce him late in the second half during their 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on 7 November.
Harrop is hoping for a similar opportunity and believes that being a local lad gives him added impetus to train harder and throw his hat in the ring with the other youngsters for a first-team call up. The midfielder broke into the U21 squad during the 2014/15 season, but has missed big chunks of the current campaign due to injury. The 19-year-old midfielder, who was handed a new two-year contract earlier this year, has revealed that he is working hard on his fitness to avoid further injuries.
"A few of the lads have been involved in it this season and that's my aim. That's what I'm here for. I want to train hard and get a chance. Cameron [Borthwick-Jackson] came on for 20 minutes recently and that's the aim for any young lad at United," Harrop said, as quoted by the Manchester Evening News.
"I've been training before a few of the Champions League games and been in and out when we've needed players coming over. It's great getting asked and good experience to be with the first team.
"It's nice to get involved and for the manager to see you. A few of the first-team players I speak to and get along with always help you settle in. Being a local lad, I think it helps you," the England U20 international explained.
"I'm not saying you have more desire than anybody else but there is a special desire inside you that makes you try as hard as you can to play for the team you support. You do the best you can for that team to make them a better side and I want to try to get into the first team to show that in the future.
"I'm working hard and am keeping my body strong in the gym to prevent any other injuries. I'm getting back to full fitness and want to train with the first team a few times again, impressing the manager, and maybe getting a chance," he added.