Goss, 26, who served Man United between 2015 and 2017, dealt with the legendary Dutch coach in Chicago in July 2015, just hours before the Old Trafford club’s glamour friendly at Soldier Field.
“I was in the lift going down to pre-match and Van Gaal was in there,” Goss – who signed a two-year deal at Fir Park in August 2021 – told the Motherwell website.
“He just looked at me and said ‘You will play minutes tonight. Be ready’. My stomach just dropped and I couldn’t eat anything.”
Van Gaal was true to his word, with Goss replacing Michael Carrick for the final 10 minutes in front of a large crowd, seeing the match out alongside the likes of Wayne Rooney, Antonio Valencia and Daley Blind.
Although the game ended in a 2-0 United defeat after goals by Blaise Matuidi and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the first half – it was still a dream come true to play for boyhood United fan Goss and his mum to savour.
“She actually went to every tour game,” Goss told ManUtd.com back in 2015. “She told me afterwards that she booked the time off last year just in case I was in the squad. I had no idea she’d done that.
“My dad couldn’t get the time off work unfortunately so my mum travelled all round on her own and came to all the games. I kept in touch with her throughout and it was good to know she was there on my debut. She said she was in tears when I came on.”
It was just one of a series of “pinch me” moments for the now Fir Parker, who first joined the English giants as a teenager from Exeter.
“It always feels like a crazy moment in my life when I look back on it,” he said. “At the time I was just trying to concentrate on my football but I was a Man United fan when I was growing up.
“It all changed when Van Gaal came in. He took quite a liking to me, so I was training with the first team. In that first season, I was lucky enough to go away with them on the America tour.
“It was so surreal watching these guys when you are growing up, then before you know it you are training with them and playing with them. It’s a crazy experience.
“The first day I was there and seeing Rooney, Carrick. I remember thinking that they were just normal people, but obviously they were right at the top of their game. Obviously, I was nowhere near that when I was at Exeter. It’s also little moments like seeing Sir Alex (Ferguson) as well.
“I was lucky enough that my first year was his last, so I got to see he used to be around the place and witness the kind of impact he had.
"Even the likes of Sir Bobby (Charlton) coming into the changing room after the games. Even things like them knowing everyone’s name. It can sound so simple but it meant so much.
“Thankfully we won the league that year so I didn’t get to witness any hair-dryer treatment from Sir Alex.”
Goss and his Motherwell mates are currently on their winter break and will return to Scottish Premiership duties at Ross County on Tuesday, January 18.