Football Features

10 players who were handed a debut by Louis van Gaal

van Gaal

After the debacles of David Moyes, Manchester United bought one of the most experienced managers in Louis van Gaal on a three-year contract. But the Dutchman has not been able to win the Old Trafford faithful over in more than one and a half season’s in-charge of the club.

The 64-year old has often been criticized about a lot of his managerial aspects but what puts him apart even at this are of football is his confidence in the academy players. Van Gaal has had a stellar career and as a manager at clubs like Barcelona and Bayern Munich and has always trusted the youngsters in the squad.

There is a huge list of players who were given a debut by the Dutchman at various clubs but here are 10 such famous players:

  1. Clarence Seedorf (Ajax):

Considered one of the best midfielders of his generation, the Dutch international and former AC Milan manager made his breakthrough and established himself as a the first choice of his position under manager Louis van Gaal in the 1992-93 season at Ajax.

  1. Edgar Davids (Ajax):

One of the greatest and most recognizable players of his generation, Davids often stood out on the football field due to his dreadlock hair and the protective goggles he wore due to glaucoma.  He made his first team debut on 6 September 1991 in a 5–1 home win over RKC Waalwijk under the 64-year old.

  1. Andres Iniesta (Barcelona):

The current Barcelona skipper and one of the best mid-fielders in the world, Iniesta made his first-team debut in 2002 under Louis van Gaal, aged 18. He began playing regularly during the 2004-2005 campaign and has remained in the team ever since establishing a career filled with glory with club and country.

  1. Xavi (Barcelona):

Barcelona legend and one of the greatest footballers ever, Xavi came through La Masia, the Barcelona youth academy, at the age of 11. He made his first-team debut against Mallorca in August 1998 when Van Gaal was in charge of the club. He is one of the best midfielders in world football and regarded for his humble persona and team ethos

  1. Carles Puyol (Barcelona):

Mainly a central defender, Puyol could play on either flank and was regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation. promoted Puyol to the first team the following year, and he made his La Liga debut on 2 October 1999 in a 2–0 away win against Real Valladolid. He went on to win 21 major titles, notably six La Liga trophies and three Champions Leagues.

  1. David Alaba (Bayern Munich):

David Alaba became Bayern’s youngest ever player in a competitive fixture, at 17 years, 7 months and 8 days old when he made his senior team debut under Louis van Gaal. He has since played in a multitude of roles, including central midfield, central defense, right and left wing, but has since blossomed as a left-back.

  1. Marcus Rashford (Manchester United):

Rashford joined the Manchester United academy at the age of 7 and made his debut in the Europe League encounter against Midtjylland this earlier this season. He went on to score a brace in that game and followed it up with two more against the Gunners at home as he announced himself in style in front of the Old Trafford faithful.

  1. Victor Valdes (Barcelona):

Valdez is regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the club’s history, having appeared in 535 official games for the club and won 21 major titles, notably six La Liga titles, and three UEFA Champions League championships. He made his debut under Louis van Gaal in the 2002-03 season, before making a breakthrough into the starting XI in the next season.

  1. Cameron Borthwick Johnson (Manchester United):

Born in Manchester, Borthwick-Jackson joined Manchester United’s Academy at the age of 6 in July 2003. On 7 November 2015, he was named on the first-team substitutes’ bench for the first time against West Bromwich Albion; he came on for Marcos Rojo in the 76th minute for his senior debut and has a good run in the squad recently due to the injury woes at the club this season.

  1. Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich):

Badstuber, the center back for the German national team made his debut in the 2009–10 season in the Bundesliga, at the age of 19 under Louis van Gaal. He went on to play nearly every game that year and helped the club win the league and cup double and reached the Champions League final that same year, before eventually earning a call-up to the World Cup in 2010

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