Louis van Gaal thinks it is in his best interests for Wayne Rooney to rise up as Manchester United’s record scorer surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton because his captain’s consecutive goals actually bring him luck.
The Dutch manager left Rooney on the bench when Manchester United lost 2-0 to Stoke in December but netted his seventh goal in as many matches as his team continue to walk towards their 2016 revival with a 3-0 victory against Mark Hughes’ boys.
The win also eased the increasing pressure on manager van Gaal, who said Rooney is now undroppable and even admitted the United skipper’s return to form has coincided with the team’s improved results.
The 30-year-old veteran striker took his tally to 244 United goals, leaving him just five behind record-holder Sir Bobby Charlton and LVG wants Rooney to overhaul the legendary English footballer this season.
“I hope for him and it is also good for me then because when he scores, we win,” he said in a news conference.
“Everybody has forgotten he was a substitute against Stoke City away. It is for everybody always the same with me. You have to prove it every game, every training session and then you play. When he plays like this, I cannot say to him: ‘Go to the bench’.”
Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial were Manchester United’s other two scorers and the under-pressure United manager was certainly delighted with the quality of the three goals.
“Superb,” he said. “These were team goals building up from behind and team goals I like the most. Of course, I am very happy with an individual goal also but these were team goals and the finishing was also very good.”
The Dutchman further admitted he is quite surprised by the impact Martial has had since his arrival after United paid Martial’s former club Monaco an initial £36 million for the youngster in the summer.
“He is 19, now he is 20. That is surprising,” he said. “You come from the French league to the Premier League and you can do this. You are 19-years-old then you have a lot of potential to give still but then I [will not be] the manager when he is at his best.”
Martial has emerged as a lethal winger of late and van Gaal suggested he will continue to use the Frenchman in that position, just as Rooney will remain the main striker and Juan Mata his No. 10.
“He likes to play in a striker’s position more than where he is now playing but when he plays like this I am not changing,” he also said, “Same as Rooney, same as Mata, I am not changing.”
Pep Guardiola, who captained Van Gaal’s Barcelona squad, will be Manchester City’s next manager at the end of this season and the he is ready to meet him again.
“He is my former captain so I am very pleased to see him and I can speak Spanish so it is convenient for him,” he further said.