Ruud van Nistelrooy may well have surprised a few critics when he came out to praise Netherlands on their approach during the 2022 FIFA World Cup in an interview with Voetbal International.
The PSV boss spoke highly highly about how his players Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons performed during the World Cup especially with the former getting on the scoresheet three times in the competition.
It is certainly a different approach considering Oranje were criticised for their defensive approach during the tournament when the national side are traditionally associated with a more attacking style of play but van Nistelrooy, who picked up 70 international caps in his playing career, argued it was the right approach from outgoing coach Louis van Gaal.
He said: “I think there was a very clear line beforehand: this is how we are going to do it, because then we have the greatest chance of winning. That’s what it’s all about. Louis van Gaal has stuck to that wonderfully. I really watched the Dutch team with pride.”
The ex-striker, who is well-known for his time at PSV Eindhoven and Manchester United as a prolific goalscorer, went on to add how he would mute the pundits on the television during the matches because he could see how the squad is run.
The former Real Madrid striker praised van Gaal’s approach and style of play deployed during the World Cup, despite many pundits stating the head coach should have played a more attacking approach during the tournament but van Nistelrooy insists it was the right choice for the squad.
“The choice of system is based on the available players. You can talk about Dutch football and the like,” he said. “Yes, if you have Arjen Robben as a right winger, a couple of good central strikers and Wesley Sneijder in ten you make your team play in a different way. Now I have seen a very clear line.
“I think Van Gaal has done a great job. From the moment he took over, he started winning, qualified and put something down with the team and the players who put their heart and soul into it. You can only respect that.”