Rooney seems to have been galvanised since being dropped by van Gaal for the game against Stoke City on Boxing Day, scoring five goals in his last four games.
The 30-year-old bagged a brace against Newcastle United and the winner against Liverpool at Anfield last time out. Van Gaal praised Rooney in his pre-match conference ahead of the game against Southampton this weekend.
“It is a fact that since Rooney is scoring we have won our games, or at least we draw against Newcastle United away,” van Gaal said.
“There is a parallel and I have said that always that he is not only important as a player but as a captain, so I am very happy with him.”
Since the turn of the year, Rooney has been nothing short of superb. 2015 was certainly a year to forget for him but he has started 2016 in the best possible way.
While he still needs to do a lot more to convince supporters that he is able to lead the line for United in years to come, Rooney deserves credit for answering his critics. He will be looking to bag another goal in the game at St Mary’s on Saturday.