Louis van Gaal insists he is “very satisfied” with Wayne Rooney’s contributions to Manchester United this season and claims it is not just the captain’s armband keeping him in the side.
Only Sir Bobby Charlton has scored more goals for United than Rooney, but he goes into the trip to Leicester on Saturday evening with just two in the Premier League this season as the club has struggled for goals.
Van Gaal’s philosophy has come in for plenty of criticism, though our feature explained why United fans must stay patient with the Dutchman and success will arrive in time.
But Rooney’s form remains a major line of questioning at Van Gaal’s pre-match press conferences, and it was no different on the eve of the Leicester game.
But United’s manager was again unequivocal in his backing when asked whether Rooney would still be picked if he was not skipper.
“Yes, of course,” Van Gaal said. “Otherwise he is out of the team. Wayne is doing a lot, has a very great contribution in the team. I am very satisfied with him.”
Rooney has been switched between No 10 and an out-and-out striker’s role this season, and Anthony Martial was preferred up front for the midweek draw with PSV Eindhoven.
“At this moment, he doesn’t play in the striker’s position, Martial is playing there,” Van Gaal said. “But it is possible he shall play other matches there.
“It is dependent not always on the quality and shape of the player at the moment, but also the game plan. And we have to decide that every week.”