Football

Van Gaal's last act to 
settle dispute

Louis van Gaal's last act as Holland manager has been to settle a captaincy feud between Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben.

The incoming Manchester United boss is fully behind van Persie, who will be a leading candidate to be the new skipper at Old Trafford, reported the Mirror.

Van Gaal takes over at United this week with a ringing endorsement of van Persie's leadership credentials, after allegations of a battle of egos with Robben.

The Bayern Munich winger has been accused of trying to take over as leader of the Dutch team.

Robben is also said to have led team talks and came out on to the pitch on his own before Wednesday's semi-final in Sao Paulo.

He then failed to make eye contact with van Persie when the United striker was substituted and had to hand Robben the captain's armband.

Robben feels that he was the real leader thanks to his own brilliant performances in Brazil.

When asked about the issue, van Gaal said: "You are all making false suggestions.

"When you have a captain who can speak for you, that is worth more than anything a coach can do. It really comes across to the players.

"Van Persie gave a great team talk before the Costa Rica quarter-final. He has been a brilliant captain, a great leader."

Holland's ex-Liverpool star Dirk Kuyt also defended van Persie's captaincy after he battled back from a serious knee injury to lead his country in Brazil.

"People forget how hard Robin had to work to make it to Brazil. He does't deserve this," said Kuyt.

"I've played in five tournaments and the togetherness of the squad has never been as great as it has been at this World Cup.

"It's something I haven't experienced before and a lot of that is down to Robin. I think we were a genuine team."

- Wire Services.

World Cup