• Premier League

'Nice guy' Van Gaal insists he is a flexible manager

ESPN staff
March 30, 2015
Louis van Gaal was hailed as a good listener by Manchester united captain Wayne Rooney © Getty Images

Louis van Gaal is adamant he is no dictator - as Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney described his manager as a nice guy.

Van Gaal has a reputation as an autocrat but the 63-year-old insists he is flexible in both his footballing and his private life.

The Dutchman said he will change his methods and his approach if his coaching staff or his players ask him to.

"I am a very flexible man," he told MUTV. "[People] are always thinking I am a boss, maybe a dictator. I am not like that. I am a very flexible man. My wife does know that."

Van Gaal has won league titles in three other countries and took Netherlands to the third place in the World Cup but said he is determined to do things differently at Old Trafford.

"You have to evaluate and adapt to the culture of the club," he explained. "The way I work here with Manchester United is different to the way I worked with Bayern Munich or the Dutch national team.

"There are lot of aspects in my philosophy I shall stick to but a lot I shall change and it can only change because of the members of my staff or my players. They can change my thoughts. We have to wait and see how many aspects I have changed after one year."

Van Gaal said he was persuaded to stay on as AZ Alkmaar manager in 2008 when he wanted to resign, leading to him winning the Dutch title and then getting the Bayern job.

"In my four years [there], were the first year second, the second year second, in the third year 13th and I wanted to go away," he said. "The players came to my house and asked me to stay and then the next year we were champions."

While Van Gaal has been accused of arrogance, Rooney has found him a pleasant person who is willing to listen.

"He is very approachable," he explained. "He always says to his players you can go and talk to him, whether it is about football or other things.

"He is 100% serious when it comes to training but if you are speaking to him about other things, he is a genuinely nice guy. He is someone that as a player, you can trust."

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