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Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal reveals he allocated World Cup squad numbers ‘based on the age of the players’

Marcus Chan

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Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal reveals he allocated World Cup squad numbers ‘based on the age of the players’

Netherlands manager Louis van Gaal has revealed the bizarre way that he allocated his squad’s shirt numbers for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

Most managers will allocate numbers based on the likelihood of them featuring in the starting eleven with numbers 1-11 the most sought-after numbers.

However, the Dutchman has revealed that he allocated shirt numbers based on the player’s age.

Therefore, goalkeeper Remko Pasveer has been given the no. 1 shirt.

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Van Gaal explained: “In general I discuss that with the players, not now. I gave the players a number that fits their age.”

The former Manchester United boss was then asked whether he was joking. Van Gaal replied: “That's no joke. I never tell jokes at a press conference, I explain how I did that.

“That has to do with age, that's why I give that answer.”

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This will keep his opponents guessing what Netherlands’ preferred starting eleven will be. Despite this, some players will still wear shirt numbers that reflect their importance to the team. For example, captain Virgil van Dijk will wear no. 4, with PSV star Cody Gakpo wearing the no. 8 jersey.

Midfield duo Frenkie de Jong and Teun Koopmeiners were given the number 21 and 20 respectively but are expected to play a key role for the team.

Van Gaal also touched on the fact that some Dutch fans are boycotting the World Cup due to Qatar’s human rights records.

He said: “They are right to do that, but I hope we play so well that at the end of the tournament when we play the final, they'll be watching on TV how good we are.”

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The 71-year-old also praised the facilities that his side have been given, he said: “The training pitch we have could not be any better. The hotel and organisation have been fantastic. I am really looking forward to the tournament but it is more important that my players feel the same way.”

The Netherlands will kick off their World Cup campaign against Senegal on Monday, 21 November. Van Gaal is positive about his side’s chances of winning.

He said: “I believe we don't have the best players in the world in our team but I believe in team building and tactics and we have players who can execute the tactical plan of the coach.”

Featured Image Credit: Alamy/[email protected]

Topics: Football World Cup, Netherlands, Louis Van Gaal

Marcus Chan
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