Thierry Henry has said that Louis van Gaal deserves to be admired for his ‘bravery’ should he leave the club this summer.

The manager, who is underfire from all quarters including fans, has seen his side struggle this season. Out of all competitions, they crashed out of Europe not once, but twice this campaign but they head into Sunday’s Manchester derby just four points behind their local rivals and, in some quarters title contenders, City.

“If Louis van Gaal does not survive beyond the season at Manchester United,” Henry told The Sun,  “you have to admire his bravery in putting so much faith in the club’s youngsters.

Manchester United's Dutch manager Louis van Gaal applauds supporters after the UEFA Europa League round of 16, second leg football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on March 17, 2016. The game ended 1-1, Liverpool going through 3-1 on aggregate. / AFP / OLI SCARFF
Manchester United’s Dutch manager Louis van Gaal applauds supporters after the UEFA Europa League round of 16, second leg football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on March 17, 2016. The game ended 1-1, Liverpool going through 3-1 on aggregate. / AFP / OLI SCARFF

“LVG has given a first-team debut to 14 members of the club’s academy during his two years at Old Trafford and unearthed some real diamonds.

Manchester United's English midfielder Jesse Lingard runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League round of 16, second leg football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on March 17, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF
Manchester United’s English midfielder Jesse Lingard runs with the ball during the UEFA Europa League round of 16, second leg football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on March 17, 2016. / AFP / OLI SCARFF

“Kids like Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Guillermo Varela and Cameron Borthwick-Jackson have all made the most of the opportunity to showcase their talents.

Manchester United's English striker Marcus Rashford reacts as he leaves the pitch after the UEFA Europa League round of 16, second leg football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on March 17, 2016. The game ended 1-1, Liverpool going through 3-1 on aggregate. / AFP / OLI SCARFF
Manchester United’s English striker Marcus Rashford reacts as he leaves the pitch after the UEFA Europa League round of 16, second leg football match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England on March 17, 2016. The game ended 1-1, Liverpool going through 3-1 on aggregate. / AFP / OLI SCARFF

“If LVG leaves this summer and a new manager takes over, those youngsters might not get the same chances next season.”

You do have to wonder how many of those 14 would have been handed a debut had United bought better in the summer or January or not suffered such a terrible series of injuries to senior players.

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What was van Gaal expected to do when he started running out of fully intact bodies?

I’m not saying that van Gaal doesn’t deserve some credit for his decisions, I just find it infuriating that credit is given and taken away in this league without all of the facts being considered.

Besides, I doubt many United fans would use the word ‘brave’ to describe a team that, for the most part, they’ve watch play the most turgid football seen at Old Trafford in recent memory.