But after two goals and an excellent performance against Real Madrid, the winger has emerged as serious candidate to challenge Luke Shaw for the left wing-back role.
Young’s first goal completed a mesmerising passing move from United which involved nine players and 20 passes, finished by the 29-year-old slotting the ball calmly passed Iker Casillas.
After the game, Young said he didn’t think teams could live with being faced with movement like that and on that evidence at least, it was difficult to disagree.
His second was intended to be a cross and initially appeared to have been headed in by Wayne Rooney though replays showed the ball passing narrowly over the head of the striker. Nevertheless, the flight of the ball was perfect and it capped off an aggressive, confident display.
Young was a somewhat of a whipping-boy for United fans under David Moyes. The former manager’s commitment to crossing seemed to encourage the winger to lob aimlessly into the box where it would be frequently headed away. This time the winger kept his head up and made far better use of the ball.
Van Gaal’s 3-4-1-2 formation demands that the wingers fall back to defend alongside the back-line and Young did that diligently. Luke Shaw, who found himself in the doghouse this week for a lack of fitness, has some genuine competition on his hands.
It will now be up to Young prove that he can keep up the impressive performances in the Premier League if he wants to cement himself as a first choice winger. If he can do that at the same time as cutting out the diving, he will be on his way to winning back the respect of the fans.