MANCHESTER, United Kingdom (AFP) – Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal said Friday that striker Radamel Falcao must prove himself, warning that a player’s financial value never influenced his selection policy.
The Colombia international was left out of van Gaal’s 18-man matchday squad for United’s 1-0 loss to Southampton last weekend as the Dutchman instead named three centre-backs — Jonny Evans, Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair — on the substitutes’ bench.
Van Gaal later insisted that Falcao, who has scored three goals in 11 games for United, had been left out for tactical reasons.
Falcao joined United in a loan deal worth £16 million (US$24 million) which includes wages, from AS Monaco in August and the Red Devils have the option to make it permanent after the end of the season for an additional £44 million.
Van Gaal also insisted the financial value of a player remains secondary to what they produce on the pitch.
“He (Falcao) has to prove himself, that we have agreed,” van Gaal told a news conference on Friday. “Because of that we have made this deal and everything is clear. It is not the end of the year so he has a chance.
“It is the quality of the training sessions and quality in his matches and I have to have a game plan,” he added.
“I explained it after the Southampton game. If a player cost £95 million or £5,000 it makes no difference to me.
“You have to prove yourself and a player of £95 million has to prove himself too.”
Despite his assessment, the Dutch manager said there were no issues with the confidence of Falcao, who has also struggled with injuries since arriving at Old Trafford.
“Is his morale good? I think so,” added van Gaal
“You will have to wait and see if he plays. Because if I say that then part of my line-up his known.