Rooney hasn’t had a shot on target in 2015 thanks in no small part due to the deeper role he has found himself in recent weeks for Man United.
The 29-year-old even played as a defensive midfielder in the midweek game against Burnley on Wednesday which was a strange sight to see but van Gaal is happy to continue playing Rooney wherever he feels he is contributing the most to the team.
“Maybe, he (Rooney) is the best striker but I have to look at where a player can make the biggest contribution, and compare that to other players also,” van Gaal said.
“The composition of the team is more important than the individual player. I am sorry but that’s the way it is. Rooney probably gives more contribution to Mr Hodgson playing in a striker’s position, and I’d also put him there if I was coach of England.
“He has to compare Wayne Rooney with the strikers he can put in the line-up, and that is a consideration I have to make at United and my consideration is a different one. I have to choose between Falcao, van Persie and all the other strikers I have.”
Van Gaal’s comments on Rooney are also an indication of how much belief in the likes of Ander Herrera and Juan Mata at the moment, players who are much more suited to the role Rooney currently occupies but still find themselves left out. They also indicate van Gaal is prepared to keep playing Rooney in midfield which isn’t good news for Herrera.
A stubborn man driven by his principles, what is abundantly clear is that van Gaal will continue to play Rooney in whatever role he pleases until he either adapts or forces van Gaal to make a change with yet more consistently poor performances.