Ruud van Nistelrooy credits Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands for helping him discover “a second passion after playing” as the Manchester United and Netherlands great's promising coaching career continues to progress.
Brands enjoyed a hugely successful eight-year stint as Technical Director at PSV Eindhoven, winning the Dutch title on three occasions and revolutionising the club’s youth system.
Brands brought van Nistelrooy back to PSV as a coach in 2013 – the striker enjoyed a goal-laden three-year spell at the Eredivisie team between 1998-2001 - initially to work with the club’s young attackers.
Van Nistelrooy now leads PSV’s Under-19s side and has also had a spell on the coaching staff of the Netherlands senior national team.
The former Real Madrid frontman details how a conversation with Brands had a transformative effect on his career plans.
Van Nistelrooy explained: “If you asked me as a player if I would ever get into management or training, I would have said, ‘No way, never. Impossible.’
“Marcel was the one who approached me, invited me to come back to PSV and got me settled back here.
“I owe him that he found me my second passion after my playing career. That’s a great thing he did for me.
“He helped me with everything I needed – my coaching badges, with having a place at the club training the players.
“He guides you through decisions.
“When we first met, we spoke about what’s next, because I didn’t want to jump into it [coaching] straight away.
“He really guided me through that and now I’m fully back into it with the Under-19s job, which I am enjoying a lot.”
Van Nistelrooy also explained why he believes Everton have an exciting future with Brands overseeing football operations.
The 43-year-old, who scored 150 goals in 213 appearances for Manchester United, highlighted his Dutch compatriot’s meticulous eye for detail and personable nature as key qualities.
“He is a professional,” he says.
“He knows what he wants in a player and a person. When he is presenting a plan [for a new signing], he absolutely knows everything about the player. He connects a lot of dots together.
“Then his personal touch comes into it as an extra. He is a great person."
Van Nistelrooy added: “I am absolutely convinced that the performance of Everton will be up there with the top clubs on a steady basis, like all of the clubs Marcel has worked for.
“Everton - with the history they have, the fanbase, the new stadium and Marcel’s guidance - I believe that package can see the club be in the top positions of English football for a long time.”