FA to court Ajax guru

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The Independent Online
THE Ajax coach Louis Van Gaal is the latest name to be considered by the Football Association in their search for a new technical director to revitalise the English game.

The FA's chief executive, Graham Kelly, was in Amsterdam last Wednesday, and although he was representing Uefa as their official observer at Ajax's Champions League match against Grasshopper Zurich, he took the opportunity to meet Van Gaal for the first time and discuss the Ajax organisation with club officials.

"We are looking for somebody with presence, a communicator and educator who has a track record with professionals," Kelly said. "It would seem Van Gaal has these things. We are looking for somebody of stature and he is certainly somebody of stature."

The 44-year-old Van Gaal was a player with Ajax in the 1970s and has worked his way up from their youth development officer to head coach and technical director. Last season he led Ajax to the European Cup.

The FA are drawing up a list of possibles before deciding on a short list in the New Year. The appointment will be made after next summer's European Championship finals. So far five names have been linked with the job. Terry Venables, Howard Wilkinson and Roy Hodgson, the new coach of Internazionale, have ruled themselves out, leaving the French technical director Gerard Houllier and the former Scotland manager Andy Roxburgh.

The new man will be responsible for the development of the game in this country at all levels, starting with primary schools. A widespread shortage of proper coaching there has led to a call by the former England midfielder Trevor Brooking for the FA to launch an initiative to improve the input of parents.

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