Van Gaal encouraged by wonderkid's potential, bemoans defence options

Old Trafford 3

Manchester United manager has praised youth star defender Reece James while also expressing frustration at the lack of numbers he has at centre back.

With Louis van Gaal comes a world-renowned reputation of developing gifted youngsters into elite-level competitors and that eye for youth talent has gotten straight to work in the Dutchman's first week during his three-year tenure in charge of Manchester United.

While many scribes listed potential superstars-in-the-making like Adnan Januzaj, Tom Lawrence and James Wilson as players perhaps capable of enamouring van Gaal (all of whom made first team appearances last term), it is actually Reece James - a 20-year-old with Under-21 Premier League experience - who has understandably attracting the head coach's commendation following a brace in the 7-0 rout over LA Galaxy.

"I have had only three days with this group and they did well," van Gaal told the club's official website.

"The first training session was not so good but the second session was much better already. So they are picking up and I was very proud of the boys. When you listen good, you can play good and he [James] is a young boy with a lot of talent. I hope he can perform in much more games like this."

James replaced summer signing Luke Shaw at the break and went on to score twice - in the 62nd and 84th minute - much to van Gaal's delight.

However, even though he was positioned at the back, along with Shaw, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Jonny Evans who also featured at various points in the game at Pasadena, the manager bemoaned the lack of quality defensive options that his roster has.

"I have no more defenders so I have to pick a player [Darren Fletcher] who can do the job but he is not so suitable for this position."

SEE ALSO: Herrera reveals what van Gaal said in dressing-room after 7-0 win over Galaxy

This, on top of recent comments that implied his predecessors Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes were guilty of handing over unbalanced squads, seemingly allude to further activity in the market.

In recent weeks, the club have been linked with centre backs such as Mats Hummels and Stefan de Vrij.

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