Set to impress: Louis van Gaal 5/1 to win LMA Manager of the Year
With the new Premier League campaign just around the corner, Coral are offering a completely new market, with Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal available at 5/1 to win the LMA Manager of the Year Award in his debut season.
After Van Gaal’s headline grabbing tactics at the World Cup, the bold Dutchman is set to make an impact in England’s top flight term. What could be a bigger statement than steering United to success, and stealing the prize of top boss away from Red Devils rival Brendan Rodgers?
The former Clockwork Orange coach has created waves with his Old Trafford revolution already, reportedly enforcing double training sessions, strict routines at meal times and even restructuring Carrington to shield exposed practice pitches from the wind.
Van Gaal has also apparently impressed United’s superstars by implementing a new 3-4-1-2 system, with the refreshing formation reaping rewards so far in pre-season. The Red Devils remain unbeaten, having claimed the scalps of Inter Milan, LA Galaxy, Real Madrid and Roma in scintillating style.
Confidence looks to be sky high, with United having netted 13 goals in 4 games since the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss took over.
Players widely considered to be surplus to requirements last term, such as Darren Fletcher, Javier Hernandez and Ashley Young, have enjoyed a new lease of life under the ex-Ajax coach, leaving some fans wondering whether further reinforcements are really required.
Perhaps often forgotten men Tom Cleverley, Shinji Kagawa and Nani can also eventually thrive under a coach who managed to extract impressive performances from a depleted Netherlands team in Brazil. Players such as Wesley Sneijder and Nigel de Jong underwent somewhat of a renaissance at the World Cup, flourishing in Van Gaal’s system, and reportedly attracting attention from the European elite once again.
Van Gaal has already made two excellent signings in left back Luke Shaw and midfield maestro Ander Herrera, plugging two obvious gaps in the squad. Where the experienced coach and former teacher truly excels, though, is in improving existing squad members and promoting youth.
He will certainly have the chance to do that at United, with academy youngsters Reece James, Michael Keane, Tyler Blackett and Jesse Lingard already shining, with the latter two being utilised in roles not considered their natural positions.
Famed for converting World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger into a central midfield role, and placing his faith in a young Thomas Muller, perhaps the bold boss will do the same to one of the many promising United starlets.
Knighted in his home nation, Van Gaal has already been credited with bringing the buzz back to Old Trafford, and it is no surprise given the Dutchman’s CV, which includes two La Liga titles, a Bundesliga trophy and a Champions League victory.
Van Gaal impressed a global audience with the heady combination of swashbuckling football and organisation his Netherlands side illustrated at the World Cup, and is set to do the same at Old Trafford.
One of the most memorable highlights in Brazil was Van Gaal’s gamble on Spurs stopper Tim Krul in the tense quarter-final penalty shootout with Costa Rica. The Dutchman strategically substituted first choice goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen in extra time, in what proved to be the defining moment of the match.
United fans can now look forward to such shrewd and ruthless game-changing decisions at Old Trafford this term. After all, this is the man who helped develop Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
With the Red Devils having quickly taken to his tactics, Van Gaal is also 7/2 to win manager of the month for August, when United face Swansea, Sunderland and Burnley.