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Van Gaal puts down roots at Carrington

ESPN staff
July 22, 2014
Keane: Van Gaal a good fit for United

Louis van Gaal is such a hot property at the moment it is wonder we are not all reporting what time he goes to sleep and wakes up.

New, big-name managers get the full treatment in the Premier League and, at Manchester United, the focus on the minutiae is intense. Every tiny move or utterance, particularly after being made to wait for the Dutchman's arrival, is being examined for the legions of news-hungry football fans out there.

So you know the Van Gaal era is well and truly under way when the state of the grass and trees at United's Carrington training ground is demanding our attention.

Louis van Gaal is a stickler for detail © Getty Images
The new United manager wants improvements to the £60m complex, which Sir Alex Ferguson once described as his "best signing".

Under Van Gaal's instruction, the club have ripped up two pitches at their training base and replaced them with the Desso hybrid pitches used at Old Trafford.

The turf, which combines natural grass with artificial fibres, creates a more robust playing surface but one that is firmer than a traditional all-grass surface. (See, we told you every detail was being examined.)

This change, you have to understand, allows Van Gaal to be painted as a football scientist, the sort of foreign coach who is a stickler for detail in a way, perhaps, his predecessor could not quite match.

Let's face it, David Moyes wasn't going to start complaining about the Carrington weather, as Van Gaal has done. Apparently, the former Netherlands manager hasn't liked the windy conditions at the recently-christened Aon Training Complex so chief executive Ed Woodward has sanctioned the planting of new trees and improved fencing to try to shelter the training ground from howling northwestern gales.

"The facility needs a little more intimacy," Van Gaal said. "I have asked already because now it's an open field but there is always wind.

"And wind is not always the friend of the players. It's not always the friend of the ball and so we have to do something about that. But the facilities are fantastic."

Whatever next? Reports of new diets and enhanced yoga sessions for United's players cannot be far away.

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