Louis Van Gaal Giving Wayne Rooney the Love He Needs with Man United Captaincy

Rob Dawson@@RobDawsonMENManchester United CorrespondentAugust 13, 2014

AP Images

Wayne Rooney has scored a lot of goals for Manchester United.

In fact, only Denis Law and Sir Bobby Charlton—two thirds of the holy trinity—have scored more.

But unlike Law and Charlton, Rooney has always been at his most prolific in a United shirt when he's been the star attraction. 

In 2006/07, the first season season following the sale of Ruud van Nistelrooy to Real Madrid, he broke the 20-goal mark for the first time. 

Cristiano Ronaldo left in 2009, and the following season Rooney completed his first 30-goal campaign.

Itsuo Inouye/Associated Press

Last season, with Robin van Persie sidelined with a knee injury, the England striker scored 19 times to finish as United's top scorer.

Louis van Gaal will hope to have Van Persie fit for the majority of next season. But the new United manager has gone out of his way to convince Rooney he's still got a big part to play.

During the tour of the United States, Van Gaal revealed his desire to play with two strikers was behind his new 5-3-2 system.

Then he named the 28-year-old as the new club captain.

In quotes carried by the Manchester Evening News, Rooney revealed how important the armband is to him.

It is a huge honour for me and for my family to be named captain of this great club. It is a role I will perform with great pride. 

Team spirit has always been very high in our dressing room and I am very grateful to the manager for the faith he has shown in me. 

I look forward to leading the team out on Saturday at our first match of the new season.

Van Gaal, meanwhile, has spelled out the reasons for his decision.

For me it's always very important the choice of captain.

Wayne has shown a great attitude towards everything he does. I have been very impressed by his professionalism and his attitude to training and to my philosophy. 

He is a great inspiration to the younger members of the team and I believe he will put his heart and soul into his captaincy role.

In a little over a month as United manager, Van Gaal has done his best to make sure his three best players feel loved. 

He's already built a relationship with Van Persie during two years as coach of the Netherlands.

Themba Hadebe/Associated Press

He's introduced a system that allows Juan Mata to play behind the strikers—the role in which he was so successful at Chelsea.

Rooney has also been accommodated in the new formation. And, crucially, given the armband. 

It will help Van Gaal head into the new season with his star men onside.

He has inherited a squad with obvious weaknesses. But he's still found some very good players at Old Trafford.

Chief among them is Rooney. And Van Gaal has done everything he can to set up another one of his best seasons.


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