New Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has sent out a clear warning to Robin van Persie; keep fit and play well, or you will be dropped.
According to the Daily Mail the Dutch manager made clear that he will never bow to player pressure following The Netherlands’ last gasp 2-1 victory over Mexico in the second-round of the World Cup, a game in which he substituted Robin van Persie 15 minutes from time. Though the pair are thought to share a special player/manager relationship, Van Gaal’s comments post-game rubbished the idea that his star striker would have any sort of preferential treatment at Old Trafford.
“No. The substitution of Van Persie was tactical,” Van Gaal said, when quizzed over whether or not the Holland forward had an injury.
“Let’s not forget before he joined team he was recovering from an injury. It’s difficult for him to keep up 90 minutes especially in these conditions.
“Anyway, this trainer wants to win. So he makes the changes and the substitutions he needs. It’s simple. Nothing else matters.”
Van Gaal & Van Persie
Since well before Van Gaal was appointed as the new United manager it has been widely documented that he and Van Persie enjoy a close relationship in the game. Though David Moyes struggled to connect with the 30-year-old last term - and such such it was reported he could make a shock exit - his successor will have no such problems, and fans will no doubt head into the new season fully expecting Van Persie to be firing on all cylinders.
That being said the Mail claims that Van Gaal’s comments indicate that he will treat the former Arsenal captain exactly the same way as everyone else, and if Van Persie’s injury complaints continue to plague him he could well find himself on the bench more often than not.
Van Gaal’s decision making
Make no mistake about it, when Van Gaal is in charge, he’s in charge. That means that the veteran coach will go about his duties with unerring command over what’s happening within his squad, and the notion of training ground unrest and players lacking respect - as was said to be common place under Moyes - is practically laughable.
However, whilst that will fill United supporters with confidence concerning his ability to handle the pressure of the Old Trafford job, it’s not without its drawbacks. In the past Van Gaal’s often volatile nature has caused rifts to form between him and other clubs, and the United board will have to be prepared to listen to his demands at every turn if they are to enjoy a fruitful relationship.
Van Persie's form
There can be little doubting the idea that Van Persie will have a crucial role to play in United’s next campaign, with the Dutch striker seen as the side’s primary source of goals. What’s more, he could see himself become captain should Van Gaal opt to differ from his predecessor's view that Wayne Rooney was the ideal candidate, and an indifferent season like the last one won’t be as easily swept under the carpet.