Wayne Rooney might just be Manchester United’s best forward, but he’s going to continue playing in the midfield, because right now that’s where he can help the team most.
That’s essentially what Man United manager Louis van Gaal has said ahead of his side’s FA Cup sixth-round date with Preston North End on Monday, and he’s 100 percent right in making that particular decision.
[ MORE: Rooney isn’t scoring; LVG knows why ]
Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Van Gaal had the following to say about his star striker-turned-midfield-engine, for both club and country:
“Rooney is maybe the best striker. But I have explained already a lot of times that my selection is not made because someone is not a good player.
“I have to compare and I have to look at what is the biggest contribution where a player can play, and other players also. The composition of the team is more important than the individual player.”
“In the composition of Mr. Hodgson’s team, Rooney is probably giving more contribution when he is playing in the striker’s position. I [would] also put him in the striker’s position if I was the coach of the English team.
“I have to choose between Falcao, Van Persie and all the other strikers I have. Then my consideration is a different one. It is about putting together a team as a whole.”
Van Gaal’s comments are again a perfect example of setting a team up in the best manner to function as a unit, rather than identifying a squad’s 11 “best” players and continuously selecting them regardless of how they actual fit into and impact the team. Take a look at any team in the world and you’ll find plain examples supporting this notion.
The same should be remembered with regards to the quality of a player’s performances over a period of time. For instance, it’s been nine games since Rooney scored for United, but with Rooney acting as the midfield general, United have five wins and three draws in that same period.