LVG: I knew I'd be a great manager

Van Gaal reveals his childhood ambition to be a top coach

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has told the League Managers Association during his keynote speech that he always had the drive to become a top coach

Paul Hyland

Louis van Gaal has offered a deep insight into his football philosophy and how a young kid who lived near the Ajax training round in Amsterdam became one of the biggest names in the game.

Speaking at the League Managers Annual conference, van Gaal dipped into all aspects of his career and brought his narrative up to date with an assertion that all he does now is "delegate and earn a lot of money."

"I was a boy that was crazy for sport, crazy for football. I did all the sports that I could do. I wanted to study sports and that's why I chose sport at the Academy of Physical Education," he said.

"Already, when I was a boy, I knew I wanted to be a trainer-coach.

"I lived near the Ajax training ground and I watched the training sessions. All my friends were looking to the players and I was looking to the coach. It was a big difference.

"At the Academy of Physical Education I learnt a lot, and everything I learnt there I practise now. First, I gave physical education to boys from 13 years until 20.

"I was not very suitable to give lessons from six to 12. I was not a patient character to go down to the child. Because you have to touch your fellow human being, so also the child.

"I'm the father of two beautiful daughters but until they were two or three..." he said, his voice trailing off and with a shrug of regret.

"But, after that, I was their man, their father! But, fortunately, they don't remember that," he said.

Van Gaal was clinical about his skills as a player: "I have played at the highest level in the Netherlands, until I was 32. But I was not a top player. I know that when you analyse yourself, that you cannot be a top player. So, I knew in advance that I shall be maybe a very good trainer-coach.

"I am an innovator, and I have changed a lot in terms of preparing for games. I was the first coach who was with a notebook. Now everybody is with a notebook. I was the first coach who used video.

"When you see my press conferences, I'm discussing a lot my philosophy. Sometimes, the media is not very proud of it. But, sometimes, they are firmly crazy for it because I explain a lot.

"It takes always a little bit of time to transfer the message. I'm training in the brain - a lot of things in the brain - because football is not a sport of legs, it is a sport of brain, and tactics. So, that takes a lot of time.

"All the players have to sustain that process and that's not easy. Praise is better than to be negative, it is true. But, sometimes, I'm sorry, you have to be negative also.

"I'm from a time where the manager did everything. Now I'm the manager and I have a sports science department, I have a scouting department, I have a medical department, I have assistant managers, I have assistant coaches.

"I don't do anything - nothing! I delegate. I delegate, and I earn a lot of money.

"Sometimes I have a horrible time because I am too arrogant, I say things how they are. It's the most difficult way but you shall survive. And I think also that you touch people in the heart.

"As a leader, you have to touch people, and not superficially but now in the heart. Feedback is very important, of course. But I have to say that because when I don't say that then I'm arrogant!

"You have to be open, only for your fellow human being. But you have to be true to yourself as a human being and close to your principles because I think that authentic people, they shall always survive."