Belfast Telegraph

Louis van Gaal's escape route? Manchester United boss could make return to Holland

By Mark Ogden

Louis van Gaal has a potential escape route if he is forced to leave Manchester United, with Holland’s national coach Danny Blind, one of his closest friends in football, raising the idea of him become technical director for his nation.

Van Gaal’s position is safe for Saturday’s home match against Swansea City and probably the Old Trafford FA Cup tie with Sheffield United a week later. But his future remains uncertain, with United already five points adrift of fourth. Managerless Swansea’s record of four wins in five against United forms the backdrop to a weekend on which defeat could see United start to become cut adrift.

Such an outcome would provoke new doubts in Van Gaal about whether he is the man to take the club on, though Blind said the 64-year-old would be an ideal appointment as technical director of the Dutch national federation.

Blind, father of United player Daley, served under Van Gaal at the 2014 World Cup before taking over from Guus Hiddink as Holland failed to qualify for Euro 2016. He said: “With Van Gaal I could achieve a lot. He is in the top category. But there are also many other options to think of where the shoe could fit. I do not know if that will happen. I recently read a comment by Bert van Oostveen (Dutch director of professional football) about appointing a technical director. But I have not spoken to him about it personally.”

Van Gaal has declared that United would be his last management role and he was frustrated by the limitations attached to his position after returning to Ajax in a technical director's position in 2004, but Blind believes an "exciting" job would convince the 64-year-old.

"The key question is: what are the pillars of the work of a technical director?" Blind said.

"I have been one myself a couple of times in my career and basically it comes down to a buying and selling policy, but that is at a club, not at the KNVB (Dutch FA).

"It comes to the flow of youth players. You have to offer an exciting job and it must be someone with respect. It's difficult."

There had been speculation last week that Van Gaal was about to be sacked and after Monday's 0-0 draw with Chelsea he was adamant that he won't be quitting.

"You have seen that my players are fighting for me," he said

"When the players can give such a performance under this pressure, then it is not any reason for me to resign.

"Maybe the media wants that but I shall not do that. It's not a question of staying, it is a question of fulfilling my contract."

Belfast Telegraph


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