Ruud van Nistelrooy knows all about Louis van Gaal, having worked with the 62-year-old during his first spell as the Netherlands coach between 2000 and 2002.
Which is why the 37-year-old’s comments about his compatriot’s propensity to promote footballers who he likes instantly should motivate the Manchester United players to give their all as soon as they meet up with the new Red Devils boss after the World Cup.
'There is pre-season training and he has to get to know the players', the former United and Real Madrid striker told ESPN. 'Then there is the tour to America and into the Premier League season. He will look at the players at United and if he sees someone he likes he will give them a chance. He likes to do that. He is prepared to promote. He won't just go out and just buy players’.
United have already made two signings – midfielder Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao and left-back Luke Shaw from Southampton – but the Manchester outfit needed to do that to secure those positions both for the short term and for the long term.
There are still some areas that need to be sorted, like central defence and the wings. Reports suggest that United will splash the cash again in the summer transfer window to reinforce those areas, but Van Nistelrooy’s comments indicate that Van Gaal will still be willing to give the current players a chance and look at the youngsters’ potential.
The likes of Nani and Marouane Fellaini have been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, but they should take the pre-season tour of the US to prove to Van Gaal that they can still play a role for United next season.
The same goes for Japan international Shinji Kagawa, who under both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes, did not quite fulfil expectations.
Although the 25-year-old has been played largely out of position at Old Trafford, he should take the pre-season camp to convince Van Gaal to play him where he wants to play.
Then of course, there are the likes of James Wilson, Michael Keane and Wilfried Zaha – young players who are determined to make a name for themselves at the biggest club in England.
It may only be a pre-season tour of the USA next month for United, but for many players, it will their one big chance to impress the boss and consolidate their place in the team.