The Dutchman took charge in May 2014 following a miserable season under David Moyes and guided Man United back into the Champions League.
His second season held witness to a grim step back, however, and he was dismissed by the club soon after claiming the FA Cup following a season hallmarked by turgid football and a fifth place finish in the Premier League.
However, according to sources at ESPN, the 65-year-old will revisit Old Trafford for Carrick’s testimonial, which will see the Champions League winners of 2008 managed by Sir Alex Ferguson take on an all-stars team managed by Harry Redknapp.
Pinning down the exact nature of Van Gaal’s reign isn’t easy. Supporters witnessed some truly unique developments: “horny” football, Phil Jones taking corners and Robin van Persie in midfield make up just a few of many managerial idiosyncrasies that supporters grew accustomed to under the Dutchman.
He was there for United’s 2-0 win over Ajax earlier this month – a powerful example of how far they have come under Mourinho – and as he descends on Old Trafford once again he may just ponder, if only briefly, where it all went wrong last year.