World Cup 2014: Louis van Gaal frustrated by Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey absence ahead of Netherlands v Wales
Van Gaal had made it clear he wanted to face a full strength Wales side but both Bale and Ramsey will be missing on Wednesday
Tuesday 03 June 2014
Holland boss Louis van Gaal is frustrated his players cannot test themselves against Gareth Bale this week.
The Dutch take on Wales in Amsterdam on Wednesday in their final friendly before leaving for the World Cup in Brazil.
Van Gaal had hoped Wales would provide a good test with the likes of Real Madrid star Bale and influential Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey in their ranks.
But Bale, who scored in the Champions League final earlier this month, withdrew citing a leg injury while Wales manager Chris Coleman opted to rest Arsenal's FA Cup winner Ramsey.
Wales are also without two other senior players in regular captain Ashley Williams and West Ham defender James Collins. Liverpool's Joe Allen will lead out the team as skipper.
Van Gaal, whose squad fly to Rio on Thursday, said: "I have said to my board that they had to insist on playing against Gareth Bale and Ramsey, but this can happen in football.
"I don't know why, whether it is injury or holidays.
"When it is a holiday I am a little bit disappointed but I can understand it because Bale has a difficult, but also impressive, season under his belt.
"It is better that we have the best team of Wales because we need resistance. I think Wales without these players are weaker.
"But I have seen Wales play, against Iceland and Finland, and I like the way that they play.
"They want to play the ball. I like the left winger and I like the midfielder of Liverpool.
"So it's not a bad team - but with Bale it is always better, with Ramsey also."
Van Gaal, the vastly experienced former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach, is standing down from his current role at the end of the World Cup to take over as manager of Manchester United.
The 62-year-old was named as David Moyes's successor at Old Trafford last month after weeks of speculation.
Van Gaal had previously been linked with job at Tottenham, both when Andre Villas-Boas was sacked last December and more recently when Tim Sherwood's position began to look uncertain.
Van Gaal concedes the position at White Hart Lane did interest him.
Asked how near he was to taking the job, Van Gaal said: "Very close, very close.
"As a little boy I was a fan of Tottenham Hotspur with the team of Jimmy Greaves when he was the champion.
"Jimmy Greaves was my idol, so I was very close."
Van Gaal was speaking at a press conference at the team's base this week at Santpoort.
He was asked about his upcoming move to Old Trafford but stuck to his recent vow not to discuss United until after the World Cup.
"I don't want to say anything," he said. "You can ask about the Dutch team and Wales. I'm here not for Manchester United."
Van Gaal has a reputation as a tough task master but he insists cultivating good relationships with his players is important.
He feels most players appreciate his methods, although he admits he will take a hard line with any who are not prepared to listen.
He said: "I think it is very important, I am a coach who wants a good relationship with my players.
"I do everything to reach that level but sometimes it is not reachable as the players are not open-minded.
"Okay, (if you) don't adapt to the norms that I put in the team, you are not listening, always out - or I go out."
Van Gaal cited one example when he did quit, after his first stint as Holland boss in 2002.
On the other hand there have been numerous bust-ups with players, including Rivaldo at Barcelona, when he dropped the world player of the year after a row over his best position.
Yet even in that case, Van Gaal believes he was right.
He said: "Most of the players are saying lovely things about me.
"There are also players who are very angry with me - (Franck) Ribery, (Luca) Toni, (Hristo) Stoichkov, Rivaldo.
"Rivaldo was nothing and I bought him and then he was a world player of the year."
Holland will be without Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman against Wales due to a hamstring injury but Van Gaal is hopeful the problem is not serious.
Van Gaal said: "Now we have to wait and see in the coming days whether it is bad or not so bad. Hopefully its a light injury."
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