Louis van Gaal has revealed that Wayne Rooney is the best striker at Manchester United, but that he will continue to play him in midfield for the time being, though also admitted he would play him upfront for England.
Van Gaal has come into criticism for the style of play currently being adopted at Old Trafford and one aspect of this is the team’s failure to create enough goalscoring chances for the likes of Rooney, Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.
"Rooney is maybe our best striker. But I am playing him in midfield because I have to" - Van Gaal
All three have been in Van Gaal’s starting XIs recently but the front pairing of Van Persie and Falcao has looked unconvincing, while Rooney is struggling to make the impact he can in games while playing in a deeper role.
Despite this, and admitting that Rooney is as good as the other two strikers, if not better, Van Gaal feels he has no choice but to continue deploying him in midfield.
“Rooney is maybe our best striker. But I am playing him in midfield because I have to look at which players make the biggest contribution and in what position,” he is quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.
England manager Roy Hodgson in the week said that Rooney was still his captain and first choice centre-forward. Van Gaal was asked about this in relation to his decision to play the striker behind the strikers or even as a deep-lying playmaker and was in agreement with Hogdson.
The Dutchman said that were he in the same position as the Three Lions boss then he too would probably have Rooney as his premier centre-forward, but insisted the system as a whole would always dictate his choice about where the former Everton star played.
“Rooney is probably giving more of a contribution to the England team when he is playing as a striker,” he added.
“I would also put him in the striker’s position if I was the coach of the English team. But it is the composition of the team that is more important than the individual player."
Fan Must Be Losing Patience
United fans must be struggling to swallow a lot of what the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has been saying with regards to the team’s shape being paramount and him feeling it is a necessity that Rooney plays in midfield.
The team are struggling to create chances, while Van Persie and Falcao do not look like a viable partnership. Added to this is the fact that Van Gaal has specialist attacking midfielders in the form of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata in the squad who could remedy it.