Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes he will leave a positive legacy at the club when he eventually departs.
Van Gaal – out of contract in 2017 – is yet to win any silverware in Manchester since arriving two years ago and United sit outside the Premier League top four by six points this season.
The Dutchman’s future is up in the air amid reports Jose Mourinho could replace him at the end of the season.
But whether he leaves at season’s end or next year, Van Gaal said he was proud to have called on so many young players during his United tenure.
In his first season, names like Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett were not uncommon in the United squad under Van Gaal.
Jesse Lingard and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, meanwhile, have been given an increased amount of game time as Van Gaal looks to secure the future of the club this term.
“It is always good that you educate your own players, in the culture of Manchester United and also the playing style of Manchester United,” Van Gaal told the Independent.
“It is very important, but I have taken a risk in minimising my squad to accommodate young players because when you have a lot of injuries, you have problems. But now I have given the chance to Lingard, Borthwick-Jackson also, while Martial and Memphis [Depay] are also very young.
“You have seen Xavi and Iniesta, for example, I gave them their debuts at Barcelona. Also Thiago Motta, but they [young players] have to do it themselves.
“But when I leave, I cannot help them anymore, they do it by themselves, and that is also very good because I am only a means to an end for them. They do it by themselves, but maybe I can be a very good means for my players.”
Van Gaal added: “I hope people will look back in the future and talk of the young players as my legacy, but you can never tell.
“The next manager would also have to show the confidence in the younger players. So I cannot judge. If United, after I retire, hire a manager who does not give the benefit of the doubt to youngsters, it shall be very difficult.
“It is also very important for the board of Manchester United to look at the profile of the new manager. If they ask [for a recommendation as manager], I shall give my opinion and after that, they can do what they wish. But I never reign beyond my grave and, when I am gone, I cannot influence or contribute.”