I love that expression: the Ego has landed. I’m pretty sure I used it here before – referring to Van Gaal of course – and the Daily Mail has used it as well. Amidst all the news (and work) re: Oranje, the big news finally broke… Van Gaal will be the first manager from the continent to take on the biggest club of the world (according to Louis himself…he probably never heard of Feyenoord???).
I don’t want to go into this too much. As Man United is not Oranje. And we don’t want Louis to be distracted, so why would we get distracted by all this? But it might still be interesting and entertaining to watch it all a bit. Louis is signed, to bring Man U back to the top in England and Europe and to develop the foundation of a good and solid youth development program.
He will take Wilfred Bout and Frans Hoek along to Manchester, but Kluivert will stay at home. The failed predecessor of Van Gaal – David Moyes – made the mistake of bringing his own staff without any ManU DNA in it and Louis was strongly advised to take Giggs as his assistant. Louis’ role will also be to prep the club legend for a future management role. Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Phil Neville will also be part of the support team.
I personally can’t wait to see how this will all go. Partly because they never dealt with someone like Van Gaal in England, partly because of his hilarious English with a Dutch accent and partly because it is a hell of a job but Louis might be the right guy to pull it of.
What one can expect is already happening. A whole list of players that the Dutch team manager will bring to Old Trafford. From Robben to Martins Indi, from Clasie to Strootman, from Kroos to Badstuber… We’ll see….
What annoyed me by the way, is that the first thing Louis had to say after his appointment was that his buddy Jose (Mourinho) immediately sent him an sms. To say he was jealous of Louis’ club list on his resume. And this is exactly what I don’t like about both Mourinho and Van Gaal: they are both narcissistic ego maniacs. It’s all about “look at my list!” “NO! Look at MY list!!”…..
Anyway, Oranje… More important (sorry Louis).
The 1-1 versus Ecuador brought some criticism down on Oranje. Is playing 5-3-2 smart? Didn’t Louis say himself months ago that getting a team to play a new system will take months to to perfect… With only a couple of weeks to go (and with key proponent Janmaat injured!), is it wise to push for this system?
Even Van Gaal seems to doubt it at times, as he let slip in a press interview that “he could always fall back on 4-3-3″… True of course, but why abandon it if you think that might work?
Van Gaal likes to use the Argentina 1986 team as an example. That team won the World Cup and it had only two big name players: one Diego Maradona and Jorge Valdano. Carlos Bilardo’s team did not have many more great players. Most of the others were simple waterbearers. Burruchaga was above average but Hector Enrique, Sergio Batista, Cucciuffo and Ruggeri were no world beaters. But the system worked. Maradona was in top form. And Arjen Robben could be our Maradona this time around, with Van Persie as Valdano.
The rest of the team should all play in service of these two. They will serve as a safety net behind the two top guns. Ronald Koeman thinks 5-3-2 is not necessarily more defensive. “It’s depends on how you execute it. If you keep 5 defenders back, then it is more defensive but with players like Janmaat, Kongolo and Van Aanholt, it will be easy to switch to 3-5-2 or even 3-4-3. Van Gaal is capable of making this system offensive as well.”
Van Gaal is not worried about the lack of experience. “I know some of the players lack experience, but it is also my first World Cup. And I think that will give them a lot of extra energy. It’s unique! And passion combined with discipline can do a lot. These young turks, they have done pretty good up to now.”
One young lad that is high on Louis’ list is Daley Blind. The son of assistant coach Danny Blind who happens to be Louis’ best friend since the 1980s. Daley probably sat on Louis’ lap as a baby. But it’s not nepotism. Daley was spotted as a huge talent when he was little and it was well known within Ajax and scouting land that he would end up an Oranje player one day. Although his move from the youth team to Ajax 1 was a bit topsy turvy, the all rounder was Ajax’ best player last season.
Van Gaal said recently: “Daley is definitely not an ideal left back but he was the best of the rest in a 4-3-3. Now with Strootman absent for the left midfield spot, I am seriously considering Daley to play on Kevin’s position.” Van Gaal also said he scouted Emanuelson, Pieters and Buttner for the left back spot but felt Kongolo, Van Aanholt and Daley Blind offer more on that spot.
Klaas Jan Huntelaar seems happy with the 5-3-2 system. “Two strikers, this means Robin and I could play together!” Asked if he actually could play with Robin, he answered a bit annoyed: “Why not? Silly question! I can play with anyone and I have.”
Huntelaar is happy with the entrance of all the young lads. “It’s great to have a mix. We have players from the top clubs of Europe mixed with super talents from the Eredivisie. I believe this is a great way to manage the transition to a new Oranje. It’s going to be tought either way. We don’t like to play Spain so early but believe me: neither do they!”.
Arjen Robben, the big man of Munich, will receive a couple of extra days off. He will remain longer in Germany with his family and will join the group on Thursday. Robben played the German Cup final on Saturday (and scored the key first goal).
And last but not least: the $ value of the national teams was announced. And Spain is the most valuable squad, with a value of close to 750 Mio euros. The list is quite predictable, with Brazil number 2, Argentina 3, Germany 4. The number 5 is less predictable but with players like Fellaini, Vertonghen, Hazard and Vermaelen it’s Belgium before France and England. Holland is number 14 (!) on the list and has nations like Portugal, Colombia and Italy before them.