Rooney missed the 2-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road last weekend due to illness.
Van Gaal turned to Memphis Depay to start up top against Watford as Man United were also missing Marouane Fellaini and Anthony Martial. The Dutchman impressed, scoring United’s opening goal, and van Gaal believes Rooney’s potential return is not an “automatic” choice.
“That is not automatic. It is always a decision of the manager,” he said.
“I compare, I compare always players with each other and I take into account how fit they are and how fit they show in the training sessions and that’s why Marouane Fellaini, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney have to show it on the training ground. Then I have to compare players with who are the best players to fit in with our game-plan. That is the same procedure with every match.”
Rooney has suffered from some poor form this season but he scored for England against France last week. Memphis’ performance against Watford was encouraging and, along with the return of Martial, van Gaal has a selection headache on his hands. However, it is a good problem to have and the veteran manager will be pleased that there is competition for places in his starting XI.