Soccer – Dutch midfielder De Jong curious about working with coach Van Gaal

AMSTERDAM : Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong is curious to discover how veteran coach Louis van Gaal goes about his business as the two work together for the first time this week in the World Cup qualifiers.

De Jong had a first training session under the 70-year-old Van Gaal on Monday as the Dutch squad assembled for three qualifiers in the space of seven days – against Norway away on Wednesday, followed by home games in Group G against Montenegro on Saturday and Turkey next Tuesday.

“I am curious about the trainer Van Gaal,” De Jong said at a news conference on Monday. “I’ve met him once before, that was it. You hear stories but I’m curious as to how the week will go.

“What do I expect? He has a charisma of his own anyway. And authority. I don’t think that’s a bad thing as a coach. You sometimes talk to other players about coaches and I’ve heard some stories about him, but I didn’t call anyone specifically to ask about him,” the 24-year-old Barcelona midfielder said.

De Jong spoke with Van Gaal before Monday’s training. “It was about anything and everything. About football, how I feel, things like that. We also talked briefly about the system of play, but I did not express a preference. You can change per game.”

Van Gaal is beginning a third tenure as Dutch coach, replacing Frank de Boer, who resigned after a disappointing last-16 exit at the European Championship. He has two days to prepare the side for their match in Oslo.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Clare Fallon)

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