Van: Early United exit helped

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Ruud van Nistelrooy thinks his early departure from Manchester United at the end of the season benefited him.

The Dutch striker fired home his first goal of the World Cup finals during Holland's 2-1 win over Ivory Coast.

Van Nistelrooy fell out with Sir Alex Ferguson just before United's final game of the season with Charlton - but that did in-turn allow him to join-up early with The Oranje.

"The season at Manchester United did not end well for me and I was happy to make a step towards the World Cup with Holland," he said.

"I prepared myself properly and now I feel really good - I think my performance against the Ivory Coast proved that."

Van Nistelrooy is still in the dark over his United future, amid claims he had made peace with Ferguson,

"I still do not know what is going to happen at United. I still have two years left on my contract," he added.

"If the situation changes, I am sure I will find out about it, otherwise I will be going back to Manchester. But for now, I just want to concentrate on helping my country to do well at the World Cup."

Meanwhile, Philip Cocu and John Heitinga both missed Holland's training session on Saturday.

"Both players are slightly injured," KNVB media officer Kees Jansma said.

"Philip (Cocu) has an ankle injury while Heitinga strained his hamstring."