Manchester United news: Inside the managerial mind of Ruud van Nistelrooy


The former striker has been currently in charge of PSV Under-19s and provides a unique insight into his managerial philosophy

After a massively successful playing career that saw him shine for PSV, Manchester United and Real Madrid among others, Ruud van Nistelrooy has been now looking to make his mark on the game in a different role. 

Having worked with managerial greats such as Sir Bobby Robson, Sir Alex Ferguson, Dick Advocaat and Fabio Capello, the former Netherlands striker will have picked up a trick or two during his playing days and he has been aiming to put those lessons into practice as the head coach of PSV Under-19s. 

Van Nistelrooy started his managerial career as Netherlands boss Guus Hiddink’s assistant in 2014, before joining PSV as an individual coach in 2016, teaching the academy’s brightest forwards the ropes.  

It was in 2018 that he then took charge of the Eredivisie giants’ Under-19 side, replacing Mark van Bommel as the latter was awarded the position of head coach of the first team. 

Whereas many ex-players have dived straight into the deep end, Van Nistelrooy has been in no rush to make the step up from the academy to the first team and he has been focusing on his players’ development rather than his own for now. 

“The reason that I’m coaching and training has been to help players develop, share my experience and train and coach them to the next level,” the Manchester United legend told Goal and Voetbalzone.  

“I love that process and that’s why I do this. I experienced the situations that the players are in now both on and off the pitch. I know what’s being asked and then it’s up to my qualities as a person, as a coach to get the players there where we want them. And that’s what I love about the job. 

“I think that I look at the players’ perspective. It’s not that I impose my vision on a group of players. I obviously have my ideas on how to play, but I think I want to create a team from the players that I have as individuals, the personalities and the footballing qualities. I want to combine that into what’s best for that group of players.  

“So in that sense I’m starting to analyse first what I have and what I’m going to work with and then I’m building a team and a style of play that suits the qualities. 

“The measurement of success has been always the soccer professional. Without the will of the soccer professional there’s nothing. I have to follow the soccer professional’s lead where he wants to go and guide him the way I feel he should be guided.  

“I think that’s the way I work and the way we work as a club. Values are important, education has been important. It’s not just about getting people here and developing them as football players, no, I think the human side has been just as important.” 

Having been in his current role for a little over a year now, Van Nistelrooy has come to the realisation that the best way to learn has been still to just get yourself out there and experience what it’s like to be a coach. 

“It has been quite challenging,” the 43-year-old added. “Many former managers and coaches that I spoke to told me I just needed to get on with a coaching job and experience it. Only then would I know and feel what it’s all about.  

“And I think they’re right. I obviously did all my coaching badges and you learn and everything and that helps, but I think by actually starting and doing it and making your decisions yourself in every aspect of an individual, a team, a staff within the club you work for, yeah, that’s what it’s all about.” 

Ruud van Nistelrooy Alex Ferguson

While his predecessor Van Bommel enjoys a close relationship with former Netherlands coach – and father in law – Bert van Marwijk, Van Nistelrooy has a number of managers to fall back on for advice. 

“I learnt so much from the managers that I worked for and I took bits from training sessions, from the way they coached, the way they talked, the way they are as human beings,” the legendary ex-striker concluded. 

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“I was fortunate to work with the best, with very different styles of management and different styles of play as well. 

“It’s great to be able to call former coaches and managers and to talk things through what I am experiencing as a coach.  

“I don’t have one guy like Mark has, but I do like to call Foppe de Haan, a coach I had at Heerenveen. I’m mostly in touch with him and it’s fantastic to learn from his experience.”




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