With Robin van Persie, Radamel Falcao and James Wilson used up front, Rooney has predominantly played in a midfield role since before Christmas and arguably hasn’t played as a striker since the 3-0 win over Hull City at the end of November.
Rooney started the season as a striker but van Gaal was quick to claim he preferred Rooney as a number ten and started to pair up van Persie and Falcao when possible, even using Angel Di Maria up front despite his ineffectiveness.
The captain took to his role well against Liverpool and Newcastle, scoring three and creating two but since has struggled to impose himself on games. Despite both he and Di Maria struggling out of position, van Gaal seems set to keep using Rooney deeper.
“He is a multi-functional player and I like that. In striking spots, we have Falcao/Wilson/RVP and also Fellaini,” Van Gaal told MUTV yesterday.
After playing a few games back in the number ten position, Rooney has well and truly become a midfielder under van Gaal but the manager has a decision to make considering he has struggled for form for over a month now.
Against Cambridge in midweek, Rooney was almost deployed as a right winger as Marouane Fellaini partnered van Persie up top.
Whilst it may be frustrating for fans to see so many players out of position, van Gaal likes multi-functional players and have previously said he prefers them to specialist players.