Manchester United landscape already being reshaped as Louis van Gaal takes 'difficult decisions'

Players' futures at stake on the US tour

Los Angeles

Manchester United’s chief executive, Ed Woodward, has acknowledged that the club’s new manager, Louis van Gaal, has “difficult decisions” to make about some of the players whose futures depend on making a favourable first impression during the pre-season tour of the United States.

Van Gaal’s arrival creates a new start for some of the technically gifted, such as Wilfried Zaha, in whom his predecessor David Moyes had no faith. Others, such as Tom Cleverley and Ashley Young, must demonstrate that they possess the versatility and technical ability with the ball at their feet to create space and engineer the fast-moving brand of football the new manager wants.

“We’ve got someone who has confidence in himself about making difficult decisions and, when you boil down what makes a great manager, one of the key characteristics is making difficult decisions,” Woodward said. “We’ve clearly got a manager who can do that.”

Van Gaal – whose attempts to build a new central defence are more likely to bring the arrival of Feyenoord’s Stefan de Vrij than Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels – knows more about his new Manchester United charges than he cares to admit. It was telling that he mentioned Michael Carrick last week in the course of discussing players who possess the “total person principle” which is at the heart of his football philosophy.

Carrick’s season under Moyes was not good but he has the attributes which are an imperative in any Van Gaal midfield technician: an ability to play with both feet and with his head up, to break one or two lines of players with a pass, and knowing what the next pass is before delivering it. The devastation Van Gaal expressed about Carrick’s 10-week absence with an ankle injury reflected his belief in the 32-year-old.

The decision to omit Bebe and Anderson from the squad to travel to the United States confirms that two of Sir Alex Ferguson’s mistakes do not feature on the future landscape. But it is also Van Gaal’s habit to learn everything about the players, their lives and their families, before deciding whether they will be a part of his squad. He is not averse to sending birthday messages to his players’ wives as part of the process of establishing what makes his professionals tick and whether they have the commitment to the sport that he expects. Wayne Rooney will certainly meet the technical requirements Van Gaal is looking for but he will need to demonstrate that commitment. Tom Cleverley will have to prove his worth to Van Gaal

The squad will spend the next three days preparing for United’s first game under the Dutchman, against LA Galaxy in the Pasadena Rose Bowl on Thursday. Matches against AS Roma, Internazionale and Real Madrid will follow in Denver, Washington DC and Detroit next week.

Suggested Topics
News
i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
news
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower