Van Gaal named Man United manager
Publish Date: May 19, 2014
Van Gaal named Man United manager
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Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal will take over as the new manager of Manchester United after the World Cup, the club announced Monday.

Van Gaal, who has signed a three-year contract, will have United great Ryan Giggs as his assistant.

Louis van Gaal, ego and exigency

In Louis van Gaal, Manchester United have found a manager who will respect their traditions, but who will also be determined to leave his own imprint on the club.

Dutch national soccer team coach Louis van Gaal (C) directs a training session in Hoederloo, Netherlands, on May 9, 2014, in preparation for the upcoming football World Cup. AFP/PHOTO

As presidents and prime ministers are often a reaction to the figures that go before them, so it is with football managers, and Van Gaal is in many ways the antithesis of his hapless predecessor, David Moyes.

Where Moyes offered only pluck and the promise of hard work, Van Gaal is vastly experienced and boasts league winner's medals from the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, as well as a host of other honours.

The 62-year-old Dutchman also speaks with a frankness verging on bluntness that will be completely at odds with the meek and apologetic media sorties that came to characterise Moyes's time at Old Trafford.

"Bravo, you've signed the best coach in the world," is what van Gaal is reported to have said after being promoted to head coach at Ajax in 1991, after several years in the shadows working as an assistant to Leo Beenhakker.

Arriving at Barcelona after a spell at Ajax in which he notably led the club to Champions League glory in 1995, he declared: "I've won more with Ajax in six years than Barca have in a century."

Where his experience chimes most resonantly with United's needs is his track record as a developer of young players.

Both of United's greatest coaches, Matt Busby and Alex Ferguson, built their successes on a core of home-grown players and Van Gaal has shown similar fearlessness when it comes to promoting nascent talent.

His time at Ajax coincided with the emergence of an extraordinary generation of Dutch players including Edgar Davids, Patrick Kluivert, the De Boer brothers, Frank and Robert, and Clarence Seedorf.

At Barcelona he helped to launch modern Spanish greats Xavi and Andres Iniesta, while David Alaba and Thomas Muller took their first steps as professionals under his tutelage at Bayern Munich.

"I was a PE teacher. I've always liked working with youngsters," explains Van Gaal, who has described himself as "a relationships coach". AFP

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