Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says he plans to continue looking to the club's youth ranks to bolster his squad options. Academy stars Paddy McNair and James Wilson were promoted into the first team on a full-time basis last season by the Dutchman. Jesse Lingard was expected to do likewise but an injury on the opening day of the 2014-15 derailed his campaign.
The 22-year-old has successfully made the step up this season, however, scoring his first goal for the club in Saturday's 2-0 win over West Brom. Van Gaal's penchant for youth was also seen in his decision to include teenage defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson in match day squads against Crystal Palace and West Brom, with the latter coming off the bench to make his debut against the Baggies.
Injuries concerns over first-team players Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo prompted the United boss to include the youngsters and van Gaal insists he will continue to do so for the rest of the season, rather than making his squad bigger.
"It is the way I lead the club. I don't want a big selection because when you have a big selection it doesn't give any chance to the young players," van Gaal was quoted as saying by Manchester Evening News. "That is why I have sold a lot of players and have a lot out on loan.
"It means we only have a squad of 21 outfield players and three goalkeepers. So when there are injuries and illnesses I have to look at the youth allocation with my youth coaches Warren Joyce and Paul McGuinness.
"I can also see myself how they play in the second team or the Undfer-19s and I have to decide which player. Of course, it is also a matter of the vacancies in the positions. Last time we had Tuanzebe because Phil Jones was ill.
"Now I have asked for a left-full back because I knew in advance that Marcos Rojo would have problems playing so many matches in a row."