English Premiership

Van Gaal hails Young's impact

2015-10-01 20:07
Ashley Young (Getty Images)

Manchester - Louis van Gaal has paid tribute to the role played by utility man Ashley Young in Manchester United's impressive form despite his latest snub from England manager Roy Hodgson.

Four consecutive wins in all competitions have taken United to the top of the Premier League table and seen them advance in the League Cup, as well as lodging their first Champions League victory of the season over Wolfsburg.

It leaves United in buoyant mood, although Young could be forgiven for feeling a little downbeat after seeing his hopes of a recall by Hodgson dashed when the national team manager named his squad for the forthcoming internationals against Estonia and Lithuania.

Keen to lift his player's spirits, van Gaal on Thursday said: "Ashley Young is a very important player. In the first place, he is a team player and not many players are actually team players.

"But he is always thinking about the team and can play in a lot of positions and for a manager it's fantastic that he's willing to do that.

"He come on as a right full-back yesterday but he didn't play so much there and the second goal started with him, for example.

"So it was very important that he played there in the second half and I'm very happy with him. He accepts his role and that's also important."

Young, capped by England 30 times, has not played for the national team since September 2013, but his value to United cannot be underestimated with his versatility seeing him play a number of positions for van Gaal.

Similarly, Young's United teammate Chris Smalling can play at full-back or centre-half, making him an important regular in Hodgson's plans and van Gaal believes the player deserves all the credit for his excellent run of form in the current campaign.

"I think that the player when he does things, he does it always by himself," said van Gaal.

"I help him with advice and demands, with training sessions, showing images to improve him.

"But he has to be open and he has to perform on the pitch. He does everything himself. the greatest compliment you need to make to Chris, not to me."

The departure of senior players like Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic has clearly placed more responsibility of the shoulders of Smalling.

"Obviously he get chances because of that situation, it's always like that," van Gaal added.

"As a player you need vacancies in positions, and when it's your position, you have more luck. That's always the case in football clubs."

Van Gaal faces Arsenal and long-serving manager Arsene Wenger at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday, although the much-travelled Dutchman insists he has no regrets that he cannot match the 19 years that his French rival has spent with the north London club.

"I was in Ajax Amsterdam for eight years in a row. That was a very long time for the position I had as trainer coach of Ajax," van Gaal said.

"But at that time I was young and I wanted more. I take that challenge so it's also dependent on your character, what do you want? I always want more.

"I have set my aims always in advance. It's the same thing that I'm doing now. I shall retire when I leave here and I always do what I have."

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WRAP: Absa Premiership

2018-01-19 22:45

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