Louis Van Gaal

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Ronald Koeman named new Netherlands boss

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It didn’t take Ronald Koeman too long to land another job.

The former Everton and Southampton manager was named the new head coach of the Dutch national team on Tuesday, with Koeman signing a contract through the end of the 2022 World Cup.

Holland have failed to reach the last two major tournaments (EURO 2016 and the 2018 World Cup) and have had three managers in charge since 2014 when Louis Van Gaal led them to a third-place finish at the World Cup in Brazil, then left to manage Manchester United.

Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind and Dick Advocaat all failed to reignite a national team which finished excelled at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. Now it is Koeman’s turn to usher through a new era of young, talented Dutch players.

His first game in charge of the Netherlands will be a friendly against England in Amsterdam on March 23.

Koeman is joined by Nico-Jan Hoogma who will become the sporting director in a statement released by the Dutch Football Association (KNVB) on Tuesday.

The KNVB has reached agreement with Ronald Koeman (54) about the appointment as national coach of the Dutch national team. Koeman has just signed a contract that connects him to Orange with immediate effect up to and including the World Cup 2022.

Nico-Jan Hoogma has also entered into a contract with the football association. Thanks to the cooperation of Heracles Almelo, where 49-year-old Hoogma has been working as general manager since 1 January 2007, he will be working as a director of top football in Zeist on 1 March. His contact runs until 1 July 2022.

A legend of the Dutch national team, Koeman always dreamed of being their manager as well as managing Barcelona in the future. It is likely he will have to at least lead the Netherlands to the latter stages of the 2022 World Cup for this to be deemed a success and keep his dreams of managing Barcelona alive.

His 18-month spell at Everton ended in October 2017 with the Toffees battling against relegation after he had led them to seventh place in the Premier League in the 2016-17 season. In the two seasons prior to that he led Southampton to 7th and 6th place finishes respectively, which were their highest-ever finishes in the PL.

A former player for Groningen, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Feyenoord in his homeland, plus Barcelona abroad where he scored the winning goal in the 1991 European Cup final, Koeman scored 14 goals in 78 appearances for the Dutch national team and helped them win their only major title to date, the 1988 European Championships.

Koeman has also managed Vitesse Arnhem, Ajax, Benfice, PSV, Valencia, AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord with varying degrees of success.

Louis van Gaal calls Mourinho’s United “far more boring”

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Louis Van Gaal has picked just the right time to pipe up.

The former Manchester United manager, who took flak while in charge for his side being hideous to watch, has now taken shots of his own at his successor Jose Mourinho, kicking Manchester United while they’re down after a 2-1 derby defeat at home.

The Dutchman told Fox Sports Netherlands, “If you ask me how did I do at United, I will say it was my best year ever, given the circumstances I was working under. We played football that was quite alright. But it’s not football that is appreciated in England. And yet, right now, looking at United, I have to conclude Mourinho is not being criticized while it’s far more boring football.”

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Van Gaal was blasted consistently for playing a boring style, especially in front of the home crowd, and now Mourinho is being criticized for the same concept. Mourinho was denounced for similar reasons while in charge of Chelsea, but with the club winning multiple titles under his leadership, the noise was always less while the team was winning. With Manchester United still unable to crack the top 4, Mourinho is feeling the heat.

“What United produce now is defensive football,” van Gaal said. “I always played attacking football. The proof is that the opposition were always parking the bus. They don’t do that now because Jose Mourinho plays so defensive.”

To van Gaal’s point, Manchester United is seventh in the Premier League in possession, holding 51% possession this season. They were out-possessed by Manchester City 65-35 at Old Trafford over the weekend. Meanwhile, van Gaal’s last full season with Manchester United, the 2015/16 season, saw the Red Devils hold 54%, which ranked third in the Premier League, just a percentage point behind leaders Arsenal. However, van Gaal’s United ranked 15th in the Premier League in total shots, while Mourinho’s United this season ranks sixth at this point.

Van Gaal made sure to point out he prefers their cross-town rivals.

“I would rather watch City play than United. You need quality in a squad and it’s clear City have a better squad.”

Luke Shaw fears Manchester United career is over

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Multiple reports claim that Luke Shaw believes his Manchester United career is “effectively over” following a falling out with Jose Mourinho.

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Shaw, 22, hasn’t featured in the Premier League this season for the Red Devils after battling back with a foot injury he picked up at the end of last season.

For most of the last three seasons he has battled through injuries at Old Trafford (including a horror leg break in 2015 just when he was showing his full potential) and was criticized by both Louis Van Gaal and Mourinho over fitness concerns and then Mourinho questioned his tactical ability at the end of last season. 

Since arriving at United from Southampton in 2014 for a fee of $36 million Shaw has made just 49 appearances in four seasons.

After recovering during preseason the attacking full back is now fully fit but has featured just twice as a substitute in the League Cup this season for United and has seen plenty of others jump ahead of him in the pecking order.

What now for Shaw?

It would not be surprising to see him loaned out in January as he aims to battle for his spot in the England squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup. It does appear his future at United is done and Mourinho has perhaps not forgotten the fact that Shaw chose to sign for United rather than Chelsea, the team Mourinho was managing in 2014. Surely he wouldn’t be that cynical…

If a midtable PL club came in with a loan deal for Shaw in January, he should demand to leave and get back to playing regularly. It’s a cliche in soccer, but Shaw is truly one of those players who needs to be playing regularly to be at his best.

He’s been doing neither for too long and still just 22 years old, it seems like Shaw’s career has reached a pivotal moment.

How will Man United deal with Paul Pogba’s injury?

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12 months ago Manchester United would have coped just fine when losing Paul Pogba.

Now, not so much.

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Pogba, 24, went off injured just 19 minutes into United’s 3-0 UEFA Champions League win over FC Basel on Tuesday night at Old Trafford and the Frenchman is expected to be out for at least a few weeks with a hamstring injury.

Such has been Pogba’s importance to United so far this season, Jose Mourinho handed him the captains armband for their return to the Champions League. On the pitch Pogba has provided driving runs from midfield, scoring two goals and adding two assists as his offensive output has been cranked up several notches compared to last season.

Who will replace him in United’s lineup on Sunday against Everton (Watch live, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)?

Marouane Fellaini is the main contender to slot right in for Pogba after his Man of the Match display against Basel in midweek where he scored and set up the third with a commanding display in central midfield. In many ways the role Pogba has been playing is perfect for Fellaini.

The Belgian had been restricted to a deeper central midfield role under David Moyes, Louis Van Gaal and even Mourinho last season, but if the Portuguese coach wants to lessen the impact of Pogba’s loss, Fellaini should slot in to start against his former club on Sunday. Mourinho continues to call Fellaini one of his “most important” players and the aggressive midfielder seems to have fed off that confidence given to him by his boss.

However, Mourinho does have options with both Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick waiting in the wings to slot in alongside Nemanja Matic against Everton.

Both would be a safer, more defensive option than Fellaini and given the Belgian midfielder facing his former club, tempers could flare in midfield just like they did last season at Goodison Park when he gave away a penalty kick moments after coming on as a substitute.

Fellaini will probably start but with Everton set to pack the midfield with playmakers like Wayne Rooney, Gylfi Sigurdsson and maybe Davy Klaassen, having an extra defensive midfielder may be the smarter move for Mourinho.

With games against Burton Albion in the League Cup, a Premier League clash at Southampton and then a trip to CSKA Moscow in the UCL, Fellaini is likely to have a bigger impact against those teams. Yet with Mourinho’s love for the Belgian midfielder very well, don’t be surprised to see Carrick and Herrera both on the bench this Sunday at Old Trafford.

Report: Swansea close to shock loan deal for Renato Sanches

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Wow. This would be a major coup for Swansea City.

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Reports in Italian outlet Di Marzio claim that Renato Sanches, 20, has agreed to join Swansea City on a season-long loan from Bayern Munich.

The Portuguese midfielder excelled at EURO 2016 last summer, winning the Young Player of the Tournament award, as he also won the prestigious Golden Boy award in 2016 after impressing for Benfica.

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However, his $41 million move to Bayern hasn’t worked out so far with Carlo Ancelotti unable to give him the game time he needs to develop.

Sanches was said to be interesting Liverpool, Chelsea, Monaco and AC Milan in a loan move, but it appears the pull of working with Swansea boss Paul Clement (his former assistant coach at Bayern) was too much for Sanches to turn down.

This would be a fantastic, and unexpected, signing for the Swans with a deal for Sanches believed to be unlikely as recent as yesterday.

Remember, before he signed for Bayern Munich Sanches was very close to signing for Manchester United under Louis Van Gaal.

This seems like a great deal for everyone concerned. Sanches will play regularly in the Premier League, while Clement has a great track record in developing young players.