In his blog for The Daily Mail, Rio Ferdinand has selected his best managers at this summer’s World Cup with new Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal sitting at the top of the pile.
The 62-year-old Dutchman has been a massive influence throughout, making a number of key and somewhat controversial decisions as he guided his team to a semi-final showdown with Argentina.
During their last-16 match against Mexico, with the Dutch trailing 1-0 going into the final stages he hauled off top goalscorer and fellow United colleague Robin van Persie and brought on Klaas-Jan Huntelaar – a decision which culminated in the Schalke striker netting the winner in the last minute from the penalty spot.
If that was not brave enough, van Gaal made World Cup history as he brought on Newcastle United shot-stopper Tim Krul a minute before Holland’s penalty shoot-out victory with Costa Rica.
Genius, controversial, brave, fortunate – traits which Premier League supporters have attributed in recent years to both former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson and Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho.
This summer, van Gaal has well and truly joined the club and former United defender Ferdinand has acknowledged him as the World Cup’s very own Special One.
He wrote: “Van Gaal doesn’t fudge either. I’m sure you’ve heard all the stories of how eccentric he can be but I’ve not heard a bad word about him from any player he’s worked with.”
“He’s a hard man, strong, big on discipline within the football environment. But he also trusts his players.”
“The other night I was in a bar with some of his Holland squad. They were mixing with the public, having a bite to eat. They knew their curfew and would respect it.”
“He believes in his players. They believe in him. Having faith in the man in charge is a huge part of achieving success in our game. The best managers earn that faith.”