Belfast Telegraph

Louis van Gaal will stay away from Manchester United until after World Cup

By Ian Herbert

Manchester United manager-elect Louis van Gaal yesterday held his first press conference since emerging as the lead contender for the Old Trafford job – but refused to discuss the Red Devils.

He is, however, highly likely to be named as David Moyes' successor later this week, though United will not ask him to interrupt his World Cup preparations by leaving the Dutch national camp at Hoenderloo for Manchester, to mark his appointment.

"No, I would not say anything about it. I am here for the Dutch team, not as a coach of Manchester United," he said when asked about the prospect of him taking over at Old Trafford.

"You'll have to wait until the process is finished or (put) questions to Manchester United – or perhaps to another club. I cannot say anything further about it."

Meanwhile, former United striker Dwight Yorke described the 35-year-old Ferdinand as "colossal".

"The word colossal comes into play as that's the type of player that Ferdinand was," he said.

"It doesn't come as a surprise but it's an end of an era for himself and Nemanja Vidic – it's unbelievable the amount of success they've had.

"Rio can leave that football club with his head held incredibly high in terms of what he has achieved."

Ferdinand moved to Old Trafford from Leeds in July 2002 for a then British record transfer fee of £29.1million, which also made him the world's most expensive defender, and he went on to win the Premier League six times, the Champions League once, two League Cups and a Club World Cup.

United legend Roy Keane may have his reservations, but Vidic believes Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, both of whom were included in England's World Cup squad, and Jonny Evans can step up and fill the void left by his and Ferdinand's absence.

"I think it's up to the new manager to decide but what I have to say is I have been training and playing with these guys and they definitely have all the ability they need to become top players," said Vidic.

"I think Chris Smalling and Phil Jones, first of all, are people who are attracting a lot of interest here because they are national-team players and the future of English football, not just Manchester United.

"They definitely have the physical strength, pace and technique to play for this club and I think now is the time for them to step up next year and to maybe form the new partnership with Jonny Evans.

"I believe those three have to be the players who are carrying on and become the United defenders for the next seven or eight years. I think they have that capability and the experience to step up."

Michael Carrick has paid tribute to departing team-mates Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand after both centre-backs were allowed to leave Old Trafford.

Ferdinand announced on Monday his career with the Red Devils had come to an end, following centre-back partner Vidic out of the club as the Serbian had already signed a deal with Inter Milan for next season.

The defensive pair were pivotal to United's success in recent years and they were integral parts of the title-winning teams in 2007, 2008 and 2009 – both were named in the PFA Team of the Year at the end of each campaign – and Carrick knows they will be missed.

"1st Vida (Vidic) now Rio, we've shared so much," the England international wrote on Twitter.

"Vida, simply the best out and out defender I've seen. Aggression and desire to win at all costs, scared centre forwards to death!

"Rio, a Rolls Royce, best all round CB, got the lot, defend, quick, composed beyond belief."

Carrick was joined in his appreciation of Ferdinand by current goalkeeper David de Gea.

"Thanks for everything @rioferdy5 and good luck in your future my friend. It's been a pleasure playing and learning with you! £Legend," wrote Spaniard De Gea.

Former Reds defender Gary Neville appeared to question the move when he wrote on Twitter: "So it looks like Rio and Vida allowed to leave at once!!! A conveyor belt has become a cliff!"

Belfast Telegraph


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