Manchester United fans might be counting the days until Louis van Gaal takes his seat in the Old Trafford dugout but right now, the mind of our new manager is elsewhere.
The Oranje may not be fancied to win the World Cup but class and experience can still be found in their ranks. Arjen Robben and Wesley Schneider will join Robin van Persie as the senior figures leading a line of young talent.
Said talent includes Bruno Martins Indi, Stefan de Vrij and Jordy Clasie who have all found their names mentioned in the Old Trafford rumour mill.
With that in mind, the Peoples Person got the thoughts of Dutch journalist and Van Gaal expert Elko Born, writer for Four Four Two, The Telegraph, ESPN and more, on what to expect from the squad.
Teams with better odds to win the tournament ahead of the Netherlands include Belgium, Uruguay and, well, England. But is it a mistake to write off the Oranje?
It’s difficult to see the Dutch winning the tournament, but the negativity surrounding the Oranje this World Cup is a bit exaggerated. A lot will depend on the first match against Spain. Should they manage to get a draw or a sneaky win then they should be able to qualify – and possibly even avoid Brazil in the round of 16.
As captain and leader, how much pressure is on Robin van Persie and what can we expect from him?
Van Persie has played in two World Cups so far and even though he played every match when the Dutch reached the final in 2010, he never quite managed to reach the levels he has reached in club football.
However, things will be different this time around. Van Persie bagged goal after goal during the Netherlands’ qualifying campaign and he’s now Holland’s highest all-time scorer with 41 goals in 80 international games. His status within the Dutch team has also increased since he won the title with Manchester United. He’s now the man everything up front will revolve around.
Much has been made of the squad being more united than in previous tournaments, even if this clip you posted showed us Arjen Robben and Bruno Martins Indi having a bit of a training ground tussle. Are they really all in it together this time?
They must be. If there’s one thing Van Gaal is good at, it’s forging a team out of a collection of youngsters. And this time around, he has gotten the more experienced generation (Van Persie, Sneijder, Robben) on board as well. Both Robben and Martins Indi know their place and feel fully motivated to perform under their manager. Assuming there’s no deep rooted problems under the surface between Robben and Martins Indi, the bust up we saw might even be a good thing. You don’t want things to get too relaxed and unfocussed.
Will Louis van Gaal‘s style and tactics give Manchester United fans any insight into what to expect next season?
Holland’s second group match will be against Australia and Van Gaal has said that he’ll play his trademark 4-3-3 formation on that occasion. Then, United fans will get to see how Van Gaal would like to play ideally. During Holland’s match against Spain, when Van Gaal will go for an unusual 5-3-2 formation, United fans will see some of the tactical versatility their new manager has developed in recent years.
Martins Indi, Jordy Clasie and Stefan de Vrij have all been linked with a move to Old Trafford in recent weeks. What are the chances we’ll see any of them in Manchester next season, and who do you think would be the best fit?
Martins Indi and Stefan de Vrij are talented centre-backs. You can’t expect them to immediately play as if they’re the new Nemanja Vidic but they would both be wise investments for the future. For Clasie, it might be too soon to move to the Premier League. Give him another year to develop in the Eredivisie, or maybe move to a club not quite as big as United.
Any chance Van Gaal might have a quiet word with any of them?
Van Gaal is a serious and professional man and right now, he’s 100% focussed on the Oranje and the World Cup. I wouldn’t think anyone in the Dutch camp is allowed to utter the words ‘Manchester United’ right now. But as soon as the Netherlands get knocked out, Van Gaal will switch his phone on and head out to Manchester.