Van Gaal was announced as the next boss at Old Trafford on Monday afternoon and the Netherlands coach will join the club after this summer's World Cup campaign with Oranje.
The Dutchman's glittering CV includes domestic titles with Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AZ Alkmaar, and he also led Ajax to the 1995 Champions League.
Schmeichel, who played for United from 1991-1999, thinks that Van Gaal's temperament marks him out as the outstanding candidate for the job.
He told Sky Sports News: "[Van Gaal is] a strong guy, an experienced guy and he is somebody who has a clear direction.
"That’s what the club needs now, someone who knows where to take the football club, and the reputation that he comes with is that he is someone who is prepared to go to war with that sort of mentality, and with his direction.
"He is someone who has been at loggerheads with some of the clubs he has been at before. He is someone who has developed an incredible way of thinking about football, especially with Ajax, and I’m quite excited and really looking forward to see where he’s going to take Manchester United."
United endured a disastrous campaign last term finishing in their lowest-ever Premier League place of seventh after 12 defeats.
David Moyes was sacked last month and Ryan Giggs took over as interim manager for the remaining four games of the season.
Giggs officially ended his 24-year playing career on Monday afternoon, and the 40-year-old will act as assistant to Van Gaal next term.