It’s more the indirect presence of him than his performances themselves because of how it displaces Anthony Martial‘s position. The Frenchman scored three goals up front for Man United but has since gone a few games without finding the back of the net because he is now stuck out on the left wing.
Seemingly, the only way for Martial to go back in as the No.9 is without Rooney. For some reason, van Gaal doesn’t even want to play United’s captain in the No.10 role – technically, that could see both play but if we are to have one isolated striker then that has to be Martial.
Rooney up front is not the sole cause of United’s problem right now but one game without him and Martial leading the attack is exactly what everybody wants to see.