Rio Ferdinand has revealed that Louis van Gaal's methods with the Netherlands during the World Cup made a "big impression" on him.
The defender was working as a BBC pundit during the tournament in Brazil and was able to see close up what was happening in the Dutch camp.
"After I visited the England team following the Italy game, I went to the Dutch squad’s hotel. The difference was so telling!," says Rio Ferdinand in his upcoming autobiography #2sides, from which today he released an excerpt of on his Facebook page.
Ferdinand continued: "The English had just lost so obviously they were a bit dejected. It’s natural. Then I went to the Dutch team where I met Robin van Persie. Holland had just beaten Spain and everyone was smiling and Robin was laughing his head off, telling jokes, and talking about Louis van Gaal. He was saying, ‘He tells us before the game, "this is how the game is going to play out" … and everything happens exactly as he predicts. He didn’t say we were going to score five goals but he did tell us how we were going to win.’"
Van Persie had just scored one of the goals of the tournament with his flying header against the reigning champions, something which Ferdinand says the Dutchman told him was "pure instinct".
Ferdinand left Manchester United over the summer after the club opted not to offer him a new contract. It's understood that Van Gaal had an input in that decision which ultimately led to the former England international joining newly promoted QPR. Ferdinand may rue the opportunity not to have worked with Van Gaal, judging by the perception he had of the coach at the World Cup.
"On the way back to our hotel I said to Jamie: ‘That team is going to go deep in this tournament. They believe in the manager, in his ideas and philosophy. If he tells them the grass is blue, the grass is blue. If he tells them the sky is green, the sky is flipping green. They’re going everywhere with him!’ Another aspect that impressed me was that Van Gaal treated his players as grown-ups. One evening we were in a bar at the hotel with Fabio Cannavaro, waiting for Christian Vieri to come along. All of a sudden almost the entire Dutch team turn up and start chilling in this bar. I sat down next to Sneijder and said ‘What’s going on? Are you allowed in here?’ He was like, ‘Yeah, the manager said to go. As long as we’re back in the hotel by 11, it’s fine.’ Me and Jamie just looked at each other and started laughing. Our players are treated like complete babies. It doesn’t really matter whether that’s because people have made mistakes in the past, or the manager doesn’t trust the players or he doesn’t trust the media who would make a story of it. I don’t think the Dutch media even mentioned it. Their players looked free and relaxed:
‘Yeah, we’re out and we’ll be back in a little while. It doesn’t matter. We’re not doing anything crazy.’ I started thinking: this lot have got it sorted, tactically, technically and there’s a great spirit in the team."
#2sides: Rio Ferdinand My Autobiography is released on Thursday.
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