New Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has taken yet another step towards stamping his authority on the club by demanding that his players speak English.
The likes of Angel Di Maria, Falcao, Ander Herrera and Marcos Rojo all come from Spanish-speaking backgrounds and Van Gaal wants them to integrate with teammates and supporters in English.
Shockingly, however, the trio of new signings aren’t the most urgent of United stars needing to brush up on their language skills if reports in the press are to be believed.
According to the Daily Mail, Ecuadorian international Antonio Valencia has been urged by his new coach to interact more and dominate the English language – a feature still not apparent despite spending eight years in the country.
“Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia has been ordered by manager Louis van Gaal to take English lessons – despite having lived here for eight years.” The report states.
“Van Gaal is determined his current squad, which includes a number of native Spanish-speakers, should all become fluent in English to help communication on the training ground and the pitch.”
Valencia moved to England from Villarreal in 2006 as the joined current championship club Wigan Athletic on a year-long loan deal.
The 29-year-old was an immediate hit under then boss Paul Jewell’s guidance, and it prompted the Latics to splash out a reported £5 million for his services in January 2008.
In the summer of 2009, after a number of stunning Premier League displays at Wigan, former United boss Sir Alex Ferguson took him to Old Trafford for a reported £16 million – though it now has become evident that an impeccable understanding of the English language wasn’t a necessity during his initial spell with the Red Devils.
Van Gaal, on the other hand, has a firm 'my way or no way' ruling going on at Old Trafford and his latest demands will be backed by supporters who will appreciate the chance to interact with their new foreign idols without the need of a translator.