Van Gaal says Rooney is playing midfield “because there is no one else”

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Over the past few weeks, Louis van Gaal has been constantly hounded with questions over why he chooses to play Wayne Rooney in the midfield rather than at striker.

Today, he offered his reasoning as a veteran manager.

“Because there is no one else.”

[ MORE: LVG says Rooney is team’s best striker ]

Speaking ahead of Manchester United’s FA Cup match against Preston North End tomorrow, van Gaal admitted that Rooney is simply filling the holes that the lineup has, but has been a consummate professional throughout.

Wayne is playing in midfield because there is no one else. He’s happy to do so otherwise he should come to me and say he’s not, but he never does. He’s always friendly to me and wants to perform.

But of course when the whole world is writing that he has to be in the striker’s position then he will be thinking ‘hey, maybe’. He’s human.”

The Dutchman went on to say that his top priority is signing a midfielder over the summer, specifically one to balance out the creativity that United already has.

[ RELATED: Knee problems to keep Kevin Strootman out for the rest of the season ]

Van Gaal spoke about the need for balance in his side, using Angel di Maria and Adnan Januzaj as examples of creative players that would benefit from having some added solidarity in the midfield.

The Red Devils have long been linked with Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman, who has experience playing under van Gaal with the Dutch national team. Nicknamed “The Dutch Roy Keane,” he is exactly the type of player Manchester United is looking for.