If, as expected, Louis van Gaal is appointed as Manchester United’s next manager then there’s a few players who may find themselves playing in new positions once the Dutchman has run the rule over his new squad.
Not only is the current Holland coach, whose national side are 28/1 to win the World Cup this summer, renowned for promoting youngsters at the club’s he’s managed, but has also reinvented the roles of a few of his charges too.
Having handed Xavi and Andres Iniesta their Barcelona debuts then doing the same with Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger at Bayern Munich, Van Gaal has also fashioned himself a reputation for redefining a player’s role in the side.
David Alaba and Schweinsteiger’s current Bayern roles were created by the 62-year-old and we’ve picked out a few of the current Red Devils crop who could receive the same treatment:
Adnan Januzaj – Number 10
Only two of the now-fully-committed Belgian’s 29 appearances in all competitions came as an attacking midfielder, registering a whoscored.com rating of just 6.94 in those games.
However, there’s a school of thought that Januzaj could be more regularly deployed in the hole, with his ability to play through balls (he made just two fewer key passes than Juan Mata in the league this season) a particular strength for the position.
Wayne Rooney – Centre midfield
Both David Moyes and Sir Alex Ferguson flirted with playing the England star in midfield but both only gave the idea a fleeting chance before casting it aside.
However, there’s a case to be made for playing Rooney in the centre of the park as he naturally drifts that way in games to collect the ball and he has the work ethic to operate there.
The fact that only Michael Carrick made more United passes than him this season adds credence to the theory.
Luke Shaw – Left wing
As neither Van Gaal or Shaw are officially under United’s employment yet this is a bit of a stretch, but as we’ve highlighted here (link to your story) Shaw isn’t exactly dominating at full-back and could harness his attacking instincts, Gareth Bale style, further up the pitch.
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