What part will youth play for Manchester United next season?
As one door closes, another one opens.
It's the mantra of Manchester United, as Old Trafford bid farewell last Tuesday night to Nemanja Vidic, and perhaps Ryan Giggs, whilst The Theatre of Dreams welcomed debutants Tom Lawrence and James Wilson onto the scene.
The secret to the aura that has set Manchester United apart from the rest over the years has been trophies and youth. For proof of the latter, you may have to look no further than Ryan Giggs, but if you dare, George Best, Paul Scholes and Co. share the same telling story of success. If anyone tells you that United aren't a special club in their own bubble, don't believe them.
The youth development currently surrounding Manchester United saw Warren Joyce's team crowned as U21 champions last year, and a similiar fate may also follow having reached a successive final appearance, against Chelsea this year. Despite undergoing major changes in the squad--most significantly the loss of Adnan Januzaj to the benefit of the first team--this season has come as a revelation for several members of the youth squad who seem to be contesting who can follow in the Belgian's path to senior promotion, looking to it as nothing short of a source of inspiration. Several young figures were loaned out by David Moyes, for namesake the likes of Marnick Vermijl, Nick Powell and Jesse Lingard.
Although it can be deemed impossible for all of the United boys to join the men's, it seems that by finding a personal level at Championship or League One standard, the youth development at United remains ever like an engine that only needs bodies as fuel to function.
The emphasis on a rebuilding job remains, with several familiar faces looking at the exit door and others looking at an entrance sign from the opposite side. However, if Louis Van Gaal does come in to replace Giggs on a permanent basis, it seems safe to say that he will be looking at the exciting youth as well as the wads of cash at his disposal, at a reported £200 million to be precise.
Dutch legend Ronald De Boer praised Van Gaal for the same attribute, "His trademark is he always brings through hungry young players. He's very interested in the whole academy. Most managers only focus on the first team, but Louis Van Gaal knows the names of the U12s, U13s and U14s."
Whilst Van Gaal remains an advocate for tactically astute football and youth, he has for this reason repeatedly come as the ideal choice to take Manchester United forward. If Giggs will be spearheading a new era besides Van Gaal, times may just look as bearable for the future as they were 12 months ago when Alex Ferguson retired with the Premier League trophy still in his hands.