Rooney has been playing as a central midfielder for Man United in recent games and even filled in as a makeshift defensive midfielder against Burnley after Daley Blind went off with an injury.
His performances haven’t been the best which has led to a lot of fans calling for him to be given a spot back up front but United’s boss has no intention of moving him, citing a lack of options as to why he will continue playing there.
When asked whether he was playing Rooney there because he felt no-one else was capable of fulfilling that midfield role, Van Gaal said: “Of course that’s the case.
“I’m looking for balance and I need it in midfield.
“The last games I played with Adnan Januzaj and Angel Di Maria in the midfield positions. Then you need a certain balance for those kind of creative players.
“So when you have these creative players and you think that (Radamel) Falcao and Robin van Persie are also creative, then you have four creative players. Then you have to look for balance in your team.”
Van Gaal has an excellent alternative to a makeshift Rooney in midfield but continues to overlook Ander Herrera, to the point where he considers Rooney as his only option in midfield despite Herrera’s clear credentials in that role. It’s almost a slap in the face for the Spaniard who has done nothing but play well in his limited appearances.
Although van Gaal considers Herrera more as a no.10, his best performances this season have come from a right central midfield role alongside Angel di Maria back in November, so it seems very peculiar that van Gaal won’t even consider Herrera for that same role any more.
Looking ahead towards the rest of the season, van Gaal said Rooney had no problems playing in that role, hinting towards the United captain continuing to play in that role.
He added: “He is happy. Otherwise, he should come to me and say: ‘I am not happy’, but he never does. He is always friendly to me and wants to perform what I want.
“That is what I see, but, when the whole world is writing that he has to be in the striker’s position, he shall be thinking ‘ hey’ as he is human.”
For the time being, it seems van Gaal has no intention of considering Herrera for a central midfield role and is happy to continue using Rooney in that position, regardless of current form or public opinion.