Manchester United players were left shocked after manager Louis van Gaal addressed captain Wayne Rooney in front of all the players and staff on the team coach following last month’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa.
Van Gaal pulled Rooney up over his poor performance on the trip back to Manchester, according to the Daily Mail, and subsequently stunned his squad after opting against berating his skipper in private.
Although Rooney was extremely poor at Villa Park, particularly by his high standards, the United striker and his teammates may have expected Van Gaal to save his thoughts for a behind-closed-doors meeting.
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But Van Gaal, who has an honest and open working relationship with Rooney, may feel the England captain possesses the character to handle being singled out in front of his teammates.
In fact, the Dutch coach may have felt it would have a positive impact on both Rooney and his Manchester United teammates to have the conversation on the coach.
Van Gaal needs Rooney back on top form
As it happens, United won their next match 3-1 against Club Brugge in the Champions League play-off round, while Rooney would kick-start his season with a hat-trick against the same opponents in Belgium a week later.
However, Rooney has been well below-par in the Premier League this term and Van Gaal will be desperately hoping his first-choice centre-forward nets a couple of goals during the international break to regain some confidence.
United are short on strikers after offloading Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and Javier Hernandez this summer, leaving Rooney, James Wilson and new £36 million summer signing Anthony Martial as Van Gaal’s only attacking options.
Therefore, the sooner Rooney starts scoring more regularly again, the better for both Manchester United and Van Gaal.
Manchester United fans: will Louis van Gaal not regret signing another experienced stiker this summer? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!