Last week Manchester United appointed Netherlands head coach Louis Van Gaal as their new manager. Van Gaal replaces David Moyes who experienced a torrid time at Old Trafford setting several unwanted records in a doomed first season in charge. Edwin Van Der Sar spent six years at Old Trafford and is tipping his compatriot to succeed in the hot seat, “He is a very hard-working coach and he is a guy who makes players better and sends out the right signals, what kind of football he wants to play to all the players and he has an eye on the young players. He has credentials in Holland, in Spain, in Germany and the national team, so yes, there is a history of winning trophies and bringing players through and working with big players. I think he’s going to be very clear what he wants and what he demands from his players and it’s great that Ryan Giggs says he is going to stay on as an assistant coach. So, yes, the input from him is very important. Of course, it’s going to be a tricky period for him in the World Cup and then deciding what kind of transfers or signings have to be made. I think it’s going to be difficult getting consistent – from seventh to first in one year – but I think Liverpool almost did it this year and I think United have more quality than Liverpool at that point.”
Van Der Sar says David De Gea’s critics will do well to remember that the Dutchman himself was of a similar build as a youngster starting out, “David De Gea replaced me two or three years ago and obviously it got a lot of criticism. But I remember when I was young, I was also quite slim, tall and maybe not that physical – the physical presence came later. He made giant steps in the second year by performing and winning the league and of course he brought a confidence with him and performs at a high level during the whole season.”
The Dutchman says it would be unfair to judge Moyes too harshly after an awful spell in charge of the Red Devils, “Yes, but with hindsight I don’t know. They had a terrible season, so you are not going to say it is a good decision, of course not. I do not know if it was a mistake. I did not train with him. He always had good squads at Everton. He always performed at a high level. He was like fifth or sixth, and always had young players coming through. I think that is something that they can look for, because you have to look at the academy and be willing to work with younger players. I think that is essential. I grew up with young players around me at Ajax or the national team or at Manchester United and I think that it is good to have a mix of young players and experienced players who can take them by the hands and take them for their first steps in their career.
Van Der Sar is working at Ajax Amsterdam these days in addition to being an ambassador for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. He was talking to laureus.com