If this were a tabloid, we could have headlined this RIGHT VAN MAN. Oh well. Anyway, Manchester United striker Robin van Persie, currently preparing for the World Cup with Netherlands, has spoken in glowing terms of his relationship with his current national and soon-to-be club manager Louis van Gaal. He told the Sun:
I never had a relationship with a coach like I have with Van Gaal - it's very special. We have had fantastic talks in the past two years. From minute one we got along well.
Poor Arsène. He also had some interesting comments about training, which will only encourage those United fans that feel one or two members of the squad could do with, to put it bluntly, a kick up the arse.
Every training is very intense. He is on our backs every minute. There is no space to relax, he demands full focus. We work very hard for a maximum one hour 15 minutes, never longer. But these 75 minutes are enormously intense. Everybody gets better. I see it every day now during the World Cup preparation. If you drop your focus for a few seconds, then 'Bam', there he is. He is typical Dutch - straight up, honest and clear.
And he also revealed that Van Gaal has something of the Brian Clough about him when it comes to respecting his players' views:
It is a different approach than I am used to, but I like it. Good is good, bad is bad. There is possibility to discuss his opinion, but he wants you to express yourself like he does. This approach gives me energy.
An energised, focused Robin van Persie? Wouldn't that be quite the thing? "Ha ha ha ha ha. In your face, Wayne. I'm going to be captain and you're going to have to go and play in midfield," he didn't add.