Van Gaal encourages United youngsters to play in next summer's U21 Championships

Louis Van Gaal

Manchester United manager insists time with England Under-21s at the European Championships next summer will be a 'good education' for his younger players.

Louis van Gaal has five Manchester United players in contention for the finals: £27 million left-back Shaw who played in the play-off win against Croatia, Phil Jones, brothers Michael and Will Keane and Tyler Blackett

The Manchester United boss wants these youngsters to be picked in Gareth Southgate's squad for the finals in the Czech Republic at the end of the season believing it will help further their careers.

Van Gaal took the Netherlands national team to the semi-finals of the summer World Cup in Brazil. He used the players involved in this side as examples of the benefits of playing and gaining as much experience as possible. 

"That tournament is a very good education and I said that as the coach of the Dutch national team as well,' said the Dutchman. 'My defenders at the World Cup (who reached the semi-finals) Stefan de Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Daley Blind had all played in the European Under 21 championship. It's a good experience not many players have."

'I don't think it is even a question or worth having a discussion. But that's my view because I think all the players want to play."

Van Gaal is evidently pleased that defender Shaw is back playing with England Under-21s. He believes that level of international football is the right one for the youngster's development, even though he tasted senior action at last summer's World Cup. The United boss is a big believer that junior tournaments are important steps on their learning curve.

Shaw, who has already won three senior caps, dropped down into Gareth Southgate’s squad for the play-off victory over Croatia which took the Young Lions to next summer’s finals. Van Gaal said: "For me as a trainer-coach of a club, I am very happy that Shaw is playing with the Under 21s. He played for the Under 21s while (Adnan) Januzaj was on the bench for the Belgium senior team. That is not a benefit for him, it was a two-week holiday."

"He would have been better at the Under 21s. I think youngsters have to play. When they are free, they need to play. Shaw was also happy to be with the Under 21s as he needs match rhythm. So it was good for everyone – the national Under 21 team, for me and for Luke."

Van Gaal's support is in direct contrast to the reservations of fellow Premier League bosses Roberto Martinez and Arsene Wenger. Both managers expressed reluctance recently when asked if some of their senior-capped players should bolster the young national side ahead of next summer's Championship.

On this matter, he said, "'Not every player is the same and I, as a manager, have to know that. Some players are too tired to play so the managers and the medical departments or the club and federation have to communicate better."

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