Van Gaal: Rooney brought balance to midfield

by Ben Topliss

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says Wayne Rooney will continue to play in midfield so long as it is in the best interests of the team.

Rooney took up a holding midfield role in Man United’s 3-1 win over Burnley on Wednesday night after Daley Blind was substituted with a head injury.

Prior to the game, van Gaal indicated he might move Rooney back up front but has now stated the 29-year-old will stay in midfield as it helps the balance of the team.

Speaking about the England captain’s role, van Gaal said: ”Rooney was one of the players who showed the best composure today.

“You can put every week these questions but I have to decide. You can ask me every week and I have to compare with [Radamel] Falcao and [Robin] van Persie, [James] Wilson and Rooney because these were the strikers for me.

“I have to look for the better balance and I think until now because of Rooney we have a better balance in midfield and I was very pleased how he replaced Blind in the No.6 position [defensive midfield].

“He showed composure and of course he was also today the Rooney that I want to see, but he has showed that he can play in every position. But maybe he can better play in a striker’s position, but then I have a problem in midfield and then you are asking another question.”

Rooney is the third highest goal-scorer in United’s history but has not started as a striker for two months and is yet to record a shot on target in the league in 2015.

His absence up top is particularly frustrating given the indifferent form of van Persie and Falcao and the fact that Ander Herrera continues to start games on the bench.

United have only lost once in 18 games however so fans cannot say van Gaal’s methods aren’t getting results.

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