Rashford, Lingard, Blackett... We look at Louis van Gaal's Manchester United academy graduates

Marcus Rashford celebrates after scoring against Arsenal

Louis van Gaal has handed 11 Manchester United academy players their Premier League debuts since he took charge at Old Trafford.

Two-goal hero Marcus Rashford and midfielders James Weir and Timothy Fosu-Mensah all made their first Premier League appearances in United's 3-2 victory over Arsenal on Sunday.

While United's current injury problems may have presented opportunities for that trio, Van Gaal's record highlights his willingness to use the club's rising stars to bolster his first-team ranks.

Here are the 11 youth-team players who have been handed a Premier League debut since Van Gaal took charge in the summer of 2014…

Tyler Blackett

Tyler Blackett
Image: Tyler Blackett clashes with Jamie Vardy last season - he's now on loan at Celtic

After loan spells with Blackpool and Birmingham City the previous season, centre-back Blackett made his Manchester United debut in Louis van Gaal's first game in charge, playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 home defeat to Swansea on the opening day of the 2014/15 campaign. Blackett made a further 10 Premier League appearances before joining Celtic last summer on a season-long loan.  

Jesse Lingard

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Jesse Lingard celebrates after scoring for Man United against Newcastle
Image: Jesse Lingard has four Premier League goals this season

Like Blackett, Lingard was also handed a starting role in Van Gaal's first game in charge - however, his involvement against Swansea lasted just 24 minutes, with injury forcing the winger from the field. That was to be Lingard's only Premier League appearance for United in 2014/15, as he joined Derby on loan for the rest of the season in January. However, Lingard has made 14 league appearances for United this term, scoring four times.

Michael Keane

Jozy Altidore of Sunderland is challenged by Michael Keane of Manchester United
Image: Michael Keane battles with Sunderland's Jozy Altidore on his United debut

Van Gaal's second game in charge of United saw him hand Keane his first - and only - first-team appearance. The defender replaced Chris Smalling just before the break against Sunderland. However, Keane was loaned to Burnley in September 2014 and in January that move was made permanent. Keane is a first-team regular for the Championship leaders this season.  

Paddy McNair

Paddy McNair of Manchester United
Image: Paddy McNair had plenty of game time in 2014/15

McNair enjoyed plenty of game time in Van Gaal's first season, after making his senior debut in the September 2014 2-1 win over West Ham. He went on to play a further 15 times, with his form for United earning him a first call-up to the Northern Ireland squad. The form of Chris Smalling and Daley Blind has limited McNair's opportunities this term.

Tom Thorpe

Thorpe (right) celebrates with Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard in 2011
Image: Tom Thorpe (left) celebrates United's FA Youth Cup win with Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard in 2011

While McNair started that game against West Ham, Thorpe had to settle for a late substitute appearance in place of Angel Di Maria. Thorpe had captained United's U18s to the FA Youth Cup in 2011 but was released at the end of his contract in July 2015 and has since joined Championship side Rotherham.   

Andreas Pereira

Andreas Pereira in action for Manchester United U21s
Image: Andreas Pereira made his debut in Louis van Gaal's first season

Pereira's Premier League bow came as a 77th-minute replacement for Juan Mata in United's 3-0 win over Tottenham in March 2015. The Brazilian's development earned him a new deal running until 2018 at the end of that season, and he has added four more appearances to his Premier League total this term.

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson

Cameron Borthwick-Jackson of Manchester United
Image: Cameron Borthwick-Jackson has made a breakthrough this season

A surprise inclusion in United's matchday squad to face West Brom in November this season, Borthwick-Jackson made his Premier League debut as a late replacement for Marcos Rojo. The teenage defender has since gone to make a further seven Premier League appearances and appears to have a bright future at Old Trafford.

Donald Love

Donald Love has been in fine form for Manchester United's U21s
Image: Donald Love made his Premier League debut in February

After a two-month loan spell at Wigan earlier this season, Love made his first Premier League appearance for United in a 2-1 defeat at Sunderland on February 13, following a first-half injury to Matteo Darmian. The defender followed that game with a starting spot in United's Europa League first-leg match at Midtjylland.  

Timothy Fosu-Mensah

Manchester United's Dutch defender Timothy Fosu-Mensah (L) and Arsenal's Nigerian striker Alex Iwobi
Image: Timothy Fosu-Mensah on debut against Arsenal's Alex Iwobi

Fosu-Mensah began his development with hometown team Ajax in the Netherlands before moving to England in 2014. A Dutch U19 international, Fosu-Mensah made a surprise appearance from the bench 55 minutes into United's 3-2 win over Arsenal on Sunday, replacing Rojo.

Marcus Rashford

Marcus Rashford scored twice on his Premier League against Arsenal

Rashford burst onto the scene last week with two goals in United's must-win Europa League second leg with Midtjylland, after replacing Anthony Martial in the starting line-up following the Frenchman's warm-up injury. The England youth team player was then handed his Premier League debut against Arsenal on Sunday, again scoring twice to help seal a 3-2 win.

James Weir

James Weir and Patrick McNair of Manchester United
Image: James Weir (left) discusses his United debut with Paddy McNair

Midfielder Weir got his first taste of senior football on Sunday as an injury-time replacement for Ander Herrera in United's 3-2 win over Arsenal. The 20-year-old, who has represented England at U18 and U19 level, began his development with hometown club Preston North End before joining the United academy in 2011. 

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