Manchester: January signing Victor Valdes must earn his spurs in Manchester United`s reserve side before he can be considered for a full first-team debut, according to manager Louis van Gaal.
The 33-year-old arrived at Old Trafford for a free transfer on an 18-month deal in January having been the bedrock of a Barcelona side that won six La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies.
Valdes, however, has failed to displace incumbent David de Gea who continues to impress in an inconsistent United side, and Van Gaal had previously stated it would be `very hard` for him to do so.
The 20-cap Spain international, who recovered from a serious knee injury playing for Barcelona in March 2014, played for United`s reserves in a 2-1 win against Liverpool on Jan. 26.
Since then, however, Valdes has been an unused substitute on the first-team bench for seven successive matches.
"When you are out for more than a year, first of all you have to show yourself at a lower level," Van Gaal told reporters.
"He has to do it in the second team. Like Ashley Young is doing that, like Michael Carrick has to do that. It is always the same. I think it is normal."
Manchester United, third in the Premier League, will hope to progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals when they face League One (third tier) Preston North End on Monday.