Rooney says that Ed Woodward’s sacking of Van Gaal just hours after United won the 2016 FA Cup was a big mistake.
‘I was devastated when Louis was sacked. For me, it was an absolute joy to work with him’ the Englishman said.
‘We should have kept him for a third season. We would have been so much stronger.’
‘I felt things were improving and players started to understand his vision.’
Rooney, speaking in the new book ‘‘LVG – The Manager and the Total Person’ as cited in The Mirror, also said he learned more from his two seasons under Van Gaal than he did in his 11 years under Sir Alex Ferguson.
‘In those two years I learned more than under any other manager.’
‘What I like about him most is his honesty. Sometimes I thought he was too honest.’
‘He was fantastic and it was fantastic to learn from him. The way he builds a team, how he has a role for every player, and how he makes every player aware of the role he has in the team. That was completely new to me.’
Meanwhile Van Gaal recalls how he made Rooney captain in an effort to make him more responsible off the pitch.
‘I could not fault Rooney’s professional attitude on the field for one second. But the way he lived his life off it was a totally different story.’
‘So I made Wayne captain to try and get more control of him away from football. Unfortunately, we did not quite succeed.’
The 34-year-old, who is now player coach at Derby County, said he was honoured to be picked.
‘I really wanted the captaincy at the time anyway, as I had been with the club for so long, so it was absolutely great.’ Rooney said.
‘Louis said to me that on the pitch I was a top-class professional, but he wanted me to be that same off the pitch.’
‘I could see why. I had been up to a few things in the past off the pitch.’
‘I did not find it difficult to behave in a responsible way at the club, but away from the club it was different.’
‘Then I suddenly had a lot on my plate as a captain. There were all different roles and I had to keep a certain image as captain towards my fellow team-mates.’
United might have to finish their Premier League season at neutral grounds as the authorities try to ensure player safety. How much do you know about those neither-home-nor-away games the Red Devils have played in the past? Take our quiz below to find out.