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4 Possible Louis van Gaal Starting XIs for Manchester United

Scott RomFeatured ColumnistJuly 19, 2014

4 Possible Louis van Gaal Starting XIs for Manchester United

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    Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

    Louis van Gaal joins Manchester United on the back of guiding the Netherlands to a third-placed finish at the World Cup.

    While his squad didn't contain a vast number of superstars, with Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Nigel de Jong and Wesley Sneijder the only names that really stood out before the tournament began, Van Gaal got the very best out of the team.

    The Dutch manager is now presented with a squad that finished seventh in the Premier League last season and will be required to maximise the potential of these players after the failure of David Moyes to do just that.

    He regular changed his formations in Brazil and will have the chance to see which one works best at United.

    Moyes selected a different starting line-up in every single game he was in charge of, but what starting team are we likely to see from Van Gaal?

Attacking

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Moyes struggled to find a formation that allowed United's most creative players to be shown at their best. If Van Gaal could play a 4-2-3-1, with Juan Mata, Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney all supporting Robin van Persie, United have the potential to rip the opposition apart. 

    From United's current players, this would mean picking two from Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick, Marouane Fellaini, Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley to act as a defensive shield, while also picking the ball up to play it forward to the attacking players to work their magic.

    Van Gaal's first choice defence would sit behind them, which would likely mean David de Gea, Luke Shaw, Jonny Evans, Phil Jones and Rafael da Silva starting.

Defensive

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Van Gaal has the option of playing a more defensive line-up on occasion, with Antonio Valencia available on the right wing and Danny Welbeck on the left. These two could then sandwich two central midfielders currently available, with Rooney forming the link between midfield and Van Persie.

    This was probably Moyes' most popular approach to games and one that United fans wouldn't mind avoiding whenever possible. 

Youth

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Whether Van Gaal plays a traditional 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, there are plenty of opportunities for young players to be incorporated in the line-up.

    Adnan Januzaj enjoyed his debut season in the first team and will thrive if given a regular role on the wing. He's also more than capable of playing behind the striker. Tom Lawrence, who made his debut during Ryan Giggs' managerial tenure last season, is an option for the other wing.

    Alongside them in midfield, Ben Pearson is likely to be another player who makes his breakthrough this season. As United aren't spoilt for choice in this position, if he impresses when he's given a chance, he might get more playing time than one might predict.

    While it's without doubt that Van Persie will be Van Gaal's main man, James Wilson is another exciting prospect up front. He only played in one game last season but still managed to score two goals.

The Dream

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    Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

    Football fans can dream, and if United fans were living in a fantasy, Van Gaal would bring some of the top players he's managed with him to Manchester.

    Arjen Robben was one of the best players at the World Cup and if United could play a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3 with him out wide, playing the ball in to Van Persie, it would be hard to stop them.

    If he could lure Bastian Schweinsteiger away from Bayern Munich, who has Van Gaal to thank for making him a central midfielder, then even better.

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