Carrick encouraged by Manchester United youth

Louis van Gaal's side have struggled thus far this season and sit six points outside the top four as their injury-ravaged side prepare to face Arsenal on Sunday
Michael Carrick believes the performances of Manchester United's younger players have given the club some hope amid a nightmarish season.

United are currently six points outside the top four and failed to progress from the Champions League group stages, with the team struggling with a huge pile up of injuries ahead of a crunch fixture with title chasers and fierce rivals Arsenal.

Wayne Rooney, David de Gea, Anthony Martial, Antonio Valencia, Luke Shaw and Ashley Young are just some of the players who have been struck down with injury and, while manager Louis van Gaal is hopeful of having some of those players back for the Arsenal clash, it is likely he will have to field a young line-up.

Carrick, 34, will marshal the team from midfield but he insists that the performances of the youngsters, most recently Marcus Rashford's two-goal haul in the 5-1 thrashing of Midtjylland, gives fans plenty of cause for optimism.

"He's trained with us quite a lot this season," Carrick said of Rashford. "I've seen plenty of him. He's lively, he's pacey, he's enthusiastic. To get two goals it's the stuff of dreams, to see his reaction and what it means to him.

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"That's what it's all about, getting the young lads through."

Carrick also expects Rashford to build on his debut brace as United continue their quest to qualify for the Champions League.

Carrick added: "We'll have to see who's fit and available for the weekend.

"I'm sure after that performance he's going to have bags of confidence.

"You don't know until you're thrown in there but that's the beauty this season.

"We've played a lot of lads who maybe wouldn't have been close to getting a chance, but they've got the chance and a lot of them have taken it.

"I think Cameron [Borthwick-Jackson] is a prime example of that.

"If you ask him, he probably wasn't hoping to be around the first team this season, but he gets his chance and he's looked comfortable and at home.

"Sometimes you don't know what you've got until you throw them in and you don't want to be throwing them in all at once, but I suppose you see who can deal with it and who can't and most of them have."