Louis van Gaal has discussed his first-ever meetings with Manchester United, and the reasons why the club appointed him as manager.
Van Gaal was appoited boss in summer 2014 following the sacking of David Moyes, with United finishing seventh the season prior.
The Dutchman has come in for criticism during his tenure at Old Trafford, but secured a fourth-place finish last season, and remains in the hunt for Champions League qualification this campaign.
The main positive of Van Gaal’s tenure has been his faith in young players, with the Dutchman handing regular game time to Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Marcus Rashford and numerous other academy graduates in an injury-hit season.
Van Gaal believes his past of developing young players in both Holland and Germany contributed towards United’s decision to appoint him.
“I had two maiden speeches with them, two conversations, first with Ed [Woodward] and later with the owners,” Van Gaal told the club’s website when asked about his appointment in 2014.
“They have said what the culture is of Manchester United and why they want me. One of the reasons was that [his youth policy]. I used a lot of players also on the tour in America and on the tour last year. You need also the luck that youngsters are performing at that level.
“It’s not always the case and, when you see how many players I give the chance to show themselves, at the end only two are three players are finishing as a player of Manchester United. But, when you have me as the manager, you have a lot of chances. Also, a lot of players, because of that, are coming next season to Manchester United because they see that [I give them a chance].”
Asked what the key ingredient is for young players to make the first team, Van Gaal added: “They have to be open for their manager, their staff and, of course, open also for all the players who can guide them. I think we have a very good staff so it’s very wise that they are open and doing the things we are asking. But it always starts with the player himself. It’s not the manager.
“I’ve said it today to a player again – it’s not me, I’m doing always what I think I have to do but you put yourself in my attention and then I shall give you always a chance. Then, you have to grab it. It’s like that. It starts with the player but the player has to be open for a lot of things – not only the tactical situation or technical situation but how he stands in human life, how he can put his career in that human life because that’s also important.”