Louis van Gaal and James Wilson in trainingLouis van Gaal has established a reputation of always giving youth a chance. Over the years at various clubs, and in 2 stints with the Dutch national team, van Gaal has consistently turned to bright young academy products, quite often benching senior and well-established players in the process. His belief and faith has, on many occasions, been well vindicated by the youngsters in whom he showed confidence. Many a world class player has him to thank for giving him the big break early on in his career. These youngsters, in turn, have proved his eye for talent.Even in his current capacity at Manchester United, van Gaal has introduced a number of United’s academy graduates like James Wilson, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair into the first team setup. They’ve all gotten a lengthy run of games in which they have proved their mettle at the Premier League level. Wilson is a regular feature of van Gaal’s attack. Let’s take a look at some of the world-class talents who’ve benefitted from van Gaal’s faith in them.
#1 Andres Iniesta
Louis van Gaal had a forgettable second spell at Barcelona, beginning in 2002. Although any other manager would’ve had their tails between their legs after failing to steer Netherlands’ World Cup qualification successfully, van Gaal remained the unabashed, egomaniacal personality that he’s always been projected as.
He let Rivaldo walk out of the club on a free transfer to Milan, and the replacement, Riquelme, was never able to play at his best. Barcelona suffered in the league and were quite inconsistent, although they won 10 straight games in the Champions League before losing to Real Madrid.
One of the few positives that van Gaal was able to bring to the club was his recognition of Andres Iniesta as a transcendent talent and his subsequent introduction into the first team. Iniesta made 6 appearances for Barcelona during van Gaal’s time in charge and gained valuable senior experience as an 18-year-old prospect.