Robin van Persie could feature for Manchester United U21s tonight

by Sam Peoples

Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Radamel Falcao and Adnan Januzaj are four first-team players who have all played with Manchester United’s U21s at some point this season.

Tonight, Robin van Persie could be in line to join them for the U21s game against Leicester City.

The Dutchman was on the bench for the trip to Chelsea last weekend but hasn’t made a first-team appearance since injuring his ankle away to Swansea and Louis van Gaal‘s decision not to bring him on when United were 1-0 down is indicative that he is not quite ready.

With that in mind, a run out with the U21s is the perfect way for van Persie to brush off the cobwebs.

Much was said about the ‘humiliation’ Falcao suffered by having to play with the U21s but speaking at the time, Louis van Gaal made it clear he saw it very differently.

He said: “I let my players play in the second squad. I read in a lot of papers that it is a humiliation. I don’t think so.

“It is a professional attitude, of the manager, the management, the club, but especially of the player. Not only Falcao has played, also [Victor] Valdes and Rafa da Silva. Rafa da Silva played a very good match and scored a very good goal. Because of that, he can grow his confidence.

“That is a lower level and they can play more than 70 minutes. That is not normal in every training session. Every player needs match rhythm. We pay a lot for the players so it is normal they play football for us and that can be for the second team.

“Every player who does not play [in the first team] has to play sometimes. He needed to play more minutes in the second team. Falcao didn’t play the best match in the second team but he tried to do his utmost best. More I cannot ask from players.”

Van Gaal sees playing with the U21s as a necessary stepping stone for players who need to improve their fitness or form with some much needed game time and as van Persie has been out for a substantial period without competitive football, there is no better way to ease him back into it than through U21s football.

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