It is a fine line that separates success and failure. His tactical flutters at Old Trafford were at best hit or miss, but for the Dutch at the World Cup he made the right choices more often than not.
The Netherlands’ subsequent struggles after Van Gaal left revealed how important he was to the Dutch set-up.
So it begs the question, should Louis van Gaal coach the national team of Belgium? From the Red Devils to the Red Devils.
Van Gaal certainly has the experience, personality, confidence (in spades) and know-how to make the job a success. He won’t have to worry about the day-to-day strain that is part and parcel of the club game. At the age of 64 the position, if offered, would be a tempting opportunity and surely a whole lot more interesting than singing Paul McCartney’s ode to aging.
From a Belgian point of view, they are desperately crying out for someone who is tactically savvy. Another disappointing international campaign finally put paid to the stewardship of Marc Wilmots and if Thibaut Courtois’ comments are anything to go by the former will not be missed.
“This was an opportunity we may not get again. I gave him my opinion in the dressing room. He has to make his own decision,” raged the Chelsea goalkeeper shortly after Belgium were dumped out of Euro 2016 by Wales.
“I pointed the finger where it had to be put after the game. We have to remain intelligent. We’re young and we’re going to still spend a lot of time together. But it’s a disappointment because we had a golden chance to go to the final,” he detailed to Belgian outlet Rtbf.
Courtois is now working under the watchful gaze of Antonio Conte, the coach whom outsmarted Wilmots when Italy face Belgium in Euro 2016. The Belgian number 1 would be forgiven for wondering how his national side would have fared had they been coached by Conte.
Rumors of a lack of cohesive tactical plans and general disharmony swirled around the Belgium camp, charges that were given further credence when the Red Devils failed to produce the goods on the pitch. Wilmots was simply ill-equipped to provide the leadership that his country needed.
Louis van Gaal may not be everyone’s cup of tea but he’s certainly an upgrade over Wilmots and crucially the Dutchman knows what he’s talking about when it comes to tactics and preparation.