Ralf Rangnick showed that he is willing to use every inch of his Manchester United team to create success for the club during Wednesday night’s Champions League draw with Young Boys, with his early dependence on new talent that is particularly refreshing.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was no stranger to giving young people a chance during his time at Old Trafford, but when the press was built up this season, those opportunities were suddenly very rare.
Just two games into the job, Rangnick is already making good on his reputation as a coach who develops talent, which fits perfectly with one of United’s core philosophies.
The German supervised huge talent scout assignments during his time as the shots at RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg – and later Red Bull’s global football operations – and his new club will benefit greatly from his expertise in this area.
Rangnick made it clear before the kick-off against Young Boys, a suitable opponent for this game, that he plans to give each player a chance to impress him. He did not back down and even made the unorthodox decision to put third-choice goalkeeper Tom Heaton on in the second half.
“Having a team of this size and talent gives me many options. There will be chances for everyone to make a claim”, was his word on the question. Everyone means everyone.
But even if it was a nice moment and probably a little more for Heaton, who started his career at the United Academy as a 16-year-old and has now finally made his first-team debut at the age of 35, the possibilities for Anthony Elanga and Amad in particular are Diallo reason to be excited.
Mason Greenwood is already an established player but is also ripe for development during Rangnick at this crucial stage of his career. There were chances for Teden Mengi and Shola Shoretire from the bench, both of whom have the potential to become first-team players, as well as senior debuts for Zidane Iqbal and Charlie Savage – both of whom have been at the club since they were five.
A Champions League dead rubber apparently provided an opportunity to experiment without consequences for Rangnick, but there was still a clear method for how the team, albeit with other staff from the weekend, approached the match.
If he can drill a tactical identity into the squad from top to bottom, the biggest that was missing under Solskjaer, the depth that has been built up in recent years will come into its own and the age of many of the players will secure it for the long term .
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