“Thank you for opening the door and trusting me. Enjoy retirement, boss!” Tweeted Marcus Rashford, 21, to honor the coach who helped Manchester United’s attacker have his Premier League debut at the age of 18 years 3 months and 28 days. After 900 games on the sideline Louis van Gaal (photo) announced his retirement in the Dutch TV show “VTBL.” Transfermarkt shows which players under the 67-year-old, whose wife actually wanted him to stop coaching twelve years ago, came to their first division debuts.
A few big names include Rashford, David Alaba (26) and Holger Badstuber (will be 30 on Wednesday) all celebrated their premieres under the strict Dutchman – Bayern’s left-back Alaba had his on March 2010 at the age of 17 years, eight months and ten days. About a year later, the Austrian allegedly played a role in van Gaals dismissal. In February of 2018 Van Gaal said to “Sport Bild,” “His mistake in the final minute, which led to 1: 1 against Nuremberg, initiated my dismissal. Alaba today is one of the greatest talents that Bayern has.” At the time Alaba was on loan to 1899 Hoffenheim and very curious about the statement.
Van Gaal’s Career in Numbers
Alabas former team-mate Badstuber (today active for VfB) told the “kicker” in August 2018: “I could not answer Louis van Gaal, because I knew: he knows better than me, even if in my head I didn’t uderstand.” Although the coach was sometimes a bit loud, Badstuber, who debuted for Bayern in August of 2009 as a 20-year-old, is very grateful: “It was now and then violent and hard to swallow. That hardened me. I shut up and continued. Apparently, that was the right decision from me, because Louis van Gaal was a great supporter of me in retrospect.”
The statistics of the most capped players under van Gaal reads like a legends selection from FC Barcelona and the Dutch national team. The Finn Jari Litmanen, the Brazilian Rivaldo, and the Portuguese Luís Figo are the only non Dutch to make the top 15 of his most capped list. Ex-Barça striker Kluivert described his former coach three years ago to “Omnisport”: “He sometimes has problems with deserving, experienced players.” Van Gaal, on the other hand, is “fantastic” when working with talent. Kluivert: “He does incredible work with the boys.”
Debutants Under van Gaal: Top XI