Smalling: Van Gaal brought the best out in Young

The 29-year-old has established himself as one of Louis van Gaal’s most reliable performers during a tumultuous season at Old Trafford

The confidence Louis van Gaal has shown in Ashley Young has helped the winger become a “terrific” player for Manchester United this season, according to his team-mate Chris Smalling.

Young was tipped to be one of the first out of the door when Van Gaal arrived at Old Trafford in July, but he has been one of United’s most consistent performers this season in the club’s quest for Champions League football.

The 29-year-old played a key role in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Crystal Palace, earning a first-half penalty and setting up Marouane Fellaini for the match-winning goal as United all but secured a top-four finish in the Premier League.

Smalling believes Van Gaal has helped turn the attacker into a more lethal player and feels Roy Hodgson could do worse than selecting Young for the first time since 2013 when England take on Republic of Ireland and Slovenia this summer.

“Ashley was terrific,” the defender said. “Every time he got the ball he looked like he was going to beat his man. He’s been a real threat the last few weeks.”

“It could be a confidence thing and the manager showing faith in him. When you’ve got that you just build on it.

“He’s quick and he can go both ways. He can cut in and have a shot or he can get past and put a cross in with his other foot.

“I think it’s the unpredictability he’s got. I think England could always do with a player like that. He’s been there before and I’m sure he won’t be far off.”

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