Louis van Gaal may not yet officially have taken up duties with his Manchester United squad, but that doesn’t mean the changes aren’t coming thick and fast at Old Trafford.
According to ESPN the Dutchman has decided to cut short the summer breaks enjoyed by the players, and has moved to introduce evening training sessions into the schedule. In the past it’s said that United players have been given a month following a major tournament before they are required to report to a pre-season camp, despite the fact that the club are only obliged to give them three-weeks.
It would appear though that Van Gaal is already determined to make big alterations, with the likes of Wayne Rooney, Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling set to fly to the United States next week to begin training after England’s early elimination from the World Cup.
Whilst there’s likely to be one or two players who are a bit miffed with having had their summer holidays cut short, surely Van Gaal’s decision to instigate immediate change with a view to being productive from the off is a good thing? The seventh placed finish in the Premier League last term was more than just a wake-up call for United as a club, and the earlier start will also give the new coach more time to get his squad settled ahead of what is sure to be a campaign of huge significance.
Having only really worked with Robin van Persie before, Van Gaal will need to develop an understanding of the players at his disposal so that he can make definitive decisions on the futures of a host of first-team individuals. This could be another reason as to why the 63-year-old is keen to have his squad together earlier than otherwise might have been the case.
Van Gaal’s way
Much has been made since the Dutchman’s appointment of his reputation for running football clubs according to what he deems to be in its best interests. Essentially that means that any influence from above him can expected to be disregarded post-haste, and any talk of the sort of player power which was rumoured to be growing during David Moyes ill-fated reign will be forgotten in an instant.
A look back at Van Gaal’s time in charge of Bayern Munich will attest to the theory that his unerring command isn’t always a positive thing for a club in the long-run, but more recent examples of his reinforced decision making - such as his choice to put Tim Krul on in extra-time to face the Costa Rican penalties in the quarterfinals of the World Cup - lend to the idea that he doesn’t mind upsetting people so long as it means the team wins.
When it’s taken into account that United were a dreadfully unorganised outfit at times last season, having someone who is going to rule with an iron fist might not be too bad a thing for the time being.