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Marco van Ginkel has nothing but praise for the Chelsea boss

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The following contains no references to Justin Bieber. Well, except this line.

Richard Heathcote

It would hardly be surprising if following the events of the past nine months, Marco van Ginkel were a bit disillusioned with football.  After all, a season that started with so much promise for the now 21-year-old ended in figurative heartbreak and a literal knee ligament break after just three appearances and less than 100 minutes of game time.

A tough road back with months and months of grueling rehab lead to just a few token appearances on the first-team bench and a handful of matches with the under-21 side towards the end of the season, in the first few of which he did not exactly inspire immediate confidence.  Yet by all indications, Marco didn't let his misfortune get him down, kept working hard throughout it all, and made a conscious effort to still be as much a part of the team as he could.

He credits one man in particular with helping to keep his spirits up, Jose Mourinho:

"He always kept on supporting me during my recovery. I definitely did not get the feeling that he wasn't interested in me. We saw each other on an almost daily basis and regularly spoke."

"I decided to recover in London, so I would stay close to the team and the manager. I appeared in the dressing room as well for home games and always had a certain bond with the team."

-Marco van Ginkel; source: Goal

More José hate for the youth then!  I bet he made poor Marco do an extra seven sets of each and every exercise with his dastardly words!

Van Ginkel likens the dichotomy of Mourinho's public and private personas to another man he knows well, Louis van Gaal.

"There are some similarities between Mourinho and Van Gaal."

"A lot of people want to know how Mourinho's like. He's incredibly fanatical and always wants to win. You occasionally see him do something crazy on the sidelines, but he's a very warm person.  He's always open to you as a person, yet he can get very angry as well."

-Marco van Ginkel; source: Goal

Of course, Mourinho was Van Gaal's assistant back in the late '90s at Barcelona, so the similarities in style - on and off the pitch - are hardly surprising.  Their meeting in the 2010 Champions League final was billed as the Pupil vs. the Master, the former cutting down the latter with the ease of a Darth Vader lightsaber.

Perhaps the mutual admiration played a part when Van Gaal decided to call up Van Ginkel to the Dutch pre-World Cup selection training camp last week, despite the midfielder lacking any true "match rhythm."  Van Ginkel was the first and so far only player called up who's not based in the Eredivisie.  And with the injury to Kevin Strootman, he may even have a decent shot of being on that plane to Brazil in a months' time.

The rest of the 30-man Dutch premilinary squad is expected to be named later today.