sport

Witschge: Van Gaal is the man

Manchester United have appointed one of the most talented and knowledgeable coaches in world football, according to former Dutch international Rob Witschge.

Van Gaal begins his first full day as United manager as he tries to revive the club's fortunes after a dismal season under predecessor David Moyes resulted in failure to qualify for Europe.

The 62- year-old has won 19 trophies in just over 20 years in management, during which he has had two spells as Netherlands boss, ending with a third-place finish in this year's World Cup.

And Witschge, who played at Ajax when Van Gaal was assistant to Leo Beenhakker, says the ex-Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager will instantly command the respect of his players.

"Van Gaal is one of the best coaches in the world," Witschge told Sky Sports. "You've seen that at the World Cup and he knows how to fix a team.

"I really think after this World Cup he has emerged with the credit he deserves. He will earn the respect from his players because they all know he has vision and he goes for it.

"He also understands football and knows how to talk about it. That is what will make him click with the players."

Van Gaal has a reputation as a disciplinarian but Witschge does not believe the United players will step out of line.

"As far as he is concerned nobody is bigger than the team and I think that is what Manchester United need at the moment because they have slipped far," said the former Ajax midfielder.

"Van Gaal is a man who knows what he wants and everybody will have to do what he wants.

"I think with the players they have and the passion they share, Louis will do a marvellous job there."

United have been linked with a number of players Van Gaal took to the World Cup, including Feyenoord's rising star Stefan De Vrij and 24-year-old Ajax player Daley Blind.

And Witschge - a partner at leading Netherlands football agency Players United - is unsurprised to see Dutch players linked with a move to Old Trafford.

"Everybody will be looking at Dutch players like (Arjen) Robben, (Wesley) Sneijder who is a great player, and (Ron) Vlaar, who did a marvellous job at the World Cup," he said.

"The young players also did well but there has to be some progression because I think the step is too big.

"There are certainly a lot of good players out there but I don't know what he (Van Gaal) is thinking at the moment."