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Van Gaal admits Strootman interest

ESPN staff
July 26, 2014
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Louis van Gaal has hinted he is keen to bring Kevin Strootman to Manchester United after admitting he is keeping a close eye on the injured midfielder's recovery.

As their pre-season tour continues, United face a Roma side on Saturday which will not feature Strootman, who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford this summer after undergoing a knee operation in March which ruled him out for the Netherlands at the World Cup.

Roma coach Rudi Garcia said on Friday there is "no doubt" that Strootman will be staying at the club but Van Gaal suggested he is waiting to weigh up a bid.

Asked if Strootman might be bought, Van Gaal said: "I never usually say anything about individual players. It is my vision that we talk about a team and not individual players.

"But Strootman I can judge, but he is injured for more than six months. We have to wait and see how he comes back. It is not easy to say how he comes back from injury, but we will wait and see."

Van Gaal also has hit out at the "unbelievable" 2pm kick-off time for the friendly against Roma with temperatures set to soar above 90 degrees.

The United manager revealed he will request that water breaks are taken during the match, just as they were when his Netherlands side overcame Mexico in the last 16 of the World Cup month.

Van Gaal said, "I shall convince the referee like I did in Fortaleza," and added that just two players - Tom Cleverley and Tyler Blackett - will play all 90 minutes. One man who will not feature is Rafael after the defender left Friday evening's training session at Sports Authority Field with what appeared to be a groin injury.

The match against Roma is United's second of their pre-season tour, following Wednesday's 7-0 win over the LA Galaxy, and the first in the International Champions Cup tournament. Having spent just more than a week with his new team, Van Gaal spoke about his initial impressions of the players.

"They are willing to pick up all information that we show and say, and that is very important," Van Gaal said on Friday evening. "They want to perform our philosophy and, OK, we have to wait and see how it develops."

Van Gaal admitted that Friday's first practice, which featured a simulated game in preparation for Saturday's match, was "not a good session" but said he was pleased with the evening's work, which focused more on positional play.

The Dutchman also revealed a little of his coaching philosophy, which, he says, challenges the minds of his players and is very demanding.

"The most important difference is that I am training the players, not in the legs, but in the brain, in brain power," he said. "That's the big difference. That's not so easy for most of the players. And my direct character - I say the things how they are, so that can be good and that be worse, also."

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