In Brief

Louis van Gaal bares his teeth as media pursue Man Utd heir

Van Gaal channels Alex Ferguson as British reporters press him on Man Utd top job

ALEX FERGUSON built his career on giving short shrift to people who angered him and it seems the man set to step into his shoes as manager of Manchester United is cut from the same curmudgeonly cloth.

Louis van Gaal, widely expected to be unveiled as United’s new manager next week, was intercepted by a reporter on Wednesday at a pre-World Cup training camp for the Netherlands national team. The 62-year-old Dutchman’s immediate challenge is to guide Holland to success in Brazil next month but a Sky Sports’ correspondent wanted to know his views on Manchester United.

Asked what he knew about the Red Devils, Van Gaal snapped: "A stupid question I think. It's the biggest club in the world. What do you know about Manchester United?"

The reporter sidestepped the question, preferring to ask another of his own, this time enquiring if Van Gaal would relish the opportunity to succeed where David Moyes so spectacularly failed during his short-lived tenure in charge of United. "I would love the job," declared Van Gaal. "I hope that I shall be the one. It’s the biggest club in the world and it’s a fantastic challenge."

Van Gaal gave nothing away on the subject of an official announcement, telling Sky: "You have to wait and see when the club decide. It is always the same, it's always a process and you have to wait for the process. The press are always too fast."

The appearance of the British press at the Dutch training camp was clearly a distraction for Van Gaal and the squad as they attempt to go a step better than four years ago when they lost in the World Cup final to Spain. "I have to focus on my job," said Van Gaal. "I'm coach of the Dutch national team. I have waited a long time to be in a World Cup... I have invested four years to be in a World Championship."

Meanwhile The Times reports that while Ryan Giggs is likely to be offered a senior position at Old Trafford under van Gaal, the future of Phil Neville – first-team coach during Moyes’ reign – is uncertain.

"I don’t know what’s around the corner for me in terms of my own personal job," admitted Neville. "I want to be part of Man United’s future. I want to be here for the rest of my life."

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