Van Gaal's World Cup tactics could make this United player important

Phil Jones crop

At the World Cup, Holland boss Louis van Gaal has shown off his tactical versatility – and that could benefit one particular Manchester United player.

The Netherlands manager has impressed with a number of different formations and systems, from his unusual 5-2-1-2 to his superb alterations when needing a goal. Van Gaal has long been renowned for being an outstanding tactical mind, and United fans have now seen that at the World Cup ahead of his move to Old Trafford.

There have been few indications over what system the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager will implement with the Red Devils, but the personnel currently at the club certainly lends itself to sticking with a 4-2-3-1-style formation. Yet with van Gaal's tactical alterations so far in the World Cup, versatile players will be relied upon even more heavily – and that could be music to the ears of one United player.

Defender Phil Jones has yet to really figure out his best position at Old Trafford since his 2011 switch from Blackburn Rovers. He's featured at centre back, right back and even in midfield as both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes sought to find the best place to play the 22-year-old. His versatility is sometimes his downfall, but under van Gaal, he could become increasingly valuable.

At the World Cup, there have been two key components to van Gaal's defence – Bruno Martins Indi and Daley Blind. Holland have largely played the aforementioned 5-2-1-2 system, with Martins Indi on the left of the three centre backs, but with his ability to play at left back, he's able to shift across there and allow Blind to move forward into midfield and create something of a 4-3-1-2 system instead.

The versatility of both players has played a large part in the tactical versatility shown by van Gaal so far, and Jones can do play in the centre, on the right, or in front of the back four. That will certainly help van Gaal adapt his role on a game-by-game basis, and whilst Jones still won't really know what his best position is, he will be able to contribute from a number of areas and possibly become more important to the Red Devils than he ever was under Ferguson or Moyes.

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