Louis Van Gaal insists Rooney still has future as striker
Louis Van Gaal has insisted that Wayne Rooney still has a future as a striker at Manchester United.
The England and United captain has been playing primarily as a midfielder this season under Van Gaal’s new system. The forced position has dampened Rooney’s scoring record with the 29-year-old having failed to score since he scored a brace against Newcastle on Boxing Day.
Rooney is close to matching his longest goal-less patch for the Red Devils – a 12 match streak between December 2005 and February 2006. The England captain has currently gone eight matches without scoring. He is yet to register a shot on target in 2015.
Incidentally Rooney is third on Manchester United’s all-time goalscorer's list and needs 25 more goals to equal Sir Bobby Charlton’s club record of 249.
On Rooney’s return as a striker
When asked if Rooney’s position is hampering his performance, Van Gaal said, “When you play him [Rooney] in midfield you are not always in the situation to score. So when you say he is not scoring then, of course, midfielders are not scoring too much.
“He is not in the front three, he is in the back three of the midfield.”
Van Gaal claims that Rooney can still return upfront. “It [Rooney’s position] is dependable on the circumstances. How we are satisfied, or not, how he is satisfied, or not. If it is a better contribution for our team to play up front, or not. That can change every week.”
Van Gaal to drop Robin van Persie or Radamel Falcao?
The shift of Rooney to the midfield has seen Robin Van Persie and Radamel Falcao pair up to head United’s attack. However, the pair has struggled through the season and Van Gaal decided to go on the defensive when asked if he is considering changes in his strike-force for Tuesday’s match against Burnley.
“When I am not lining up with Falcao, you are asking, 'Where is Falcao?' and when I don't line up Van Persie you are asking, 'Where is van Persie?'” Van Gaal said. “You always put the question negative, but I am used to that, it is not a problem, I am used to that.
“Are Falcao and Van Persie doing enough? It is always dependable on what we decided and, until this moment, we have not decided that yet.
“It is always a question to the future, so you will have to wait and see.
“But it is always a team result. You have had a lot of criticism about our defenders, now I don't read any more about our defenders because you cannot say as we are now one of the best.
“I have said this in advance, defence organisation starts with the strikers, maybe you remember that?
“Defensive organisation starts with the attackers and attacking organisation starts with the defenders.
“We are a team and the team scores, not the strikers only.”