Van Gaal made Rooney captain last summer following the departure of senior players such as Rio Ferdinand, Ryan Giggs and Patrice Evra.
A number of Man United players have credited Rooney for inspiring the excellent six-game winning streak earlier in the season following a rousing dressing room speech.
Van Gaal praised Rooney’s qualities as a captain and the way he has handled himself on the pitch.
Speaking about Rooney, van Gaal said: “He is a democratic leader, he is not a dictator.
“I like democratic leadership. He is always setting an example for the other players and maybe Wayne is the example for the team’s fighting spirit.
“Sometimes he can cross the limits but when you review his season you can say that he is a controlled captain. He will always argue with the referee but he did it at the right moment in a positive way.
“So I think after one season I can say I made the right decision to make him our captain. I am very happy with him.”
Although Rooney has undoubtedly done a good job over the course of the campaign, there have been a few moments where his infamous temper has threatened to flare up.
Against Hull City last weekend, the 29-year-old was lucky to escape without punishment after kicking out at Robbie Brady. A less lenient referee may have decided to take the incident further.