Louis van Gaal: Roy Hodgson right to play Manchester United's Wayne Rooney as a striker

Manchester United's Wayne Rooney celebrates scoring his teams second goal during the Barclays Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester.
Image: Wayne Rooney: Third on United's goalscoring list

Louis van Gaal has admitted he would play Wayne Rooney up front if he were manager of England.

Van Gaal has been using Rooney in midfield at Manchester United in the interests of "balance", even dropping him into a deep-lying position for part of the recent victory over Burnley.

Hodgson this week said he had no plans to alter Rooney's role as his captain closes in on Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time goalscoring record, and van Gaal reckons the England manager is right.

He said: "In the composition for Mr Hodgson, Rooney is probably giving more contribution to the English team in the striker's position, then I would put him there too if I was the English manager.

"He has to compare Rooney with other strikers in his line-up and that is another consideration I have to make. I have to choose between Radamel Falcao, Robin van Persie and all the other strikers I have, then it is my consideration that is a different way."

Van Gaal even said he rates Rooney as "maybe the best striker (I have)", but that does not mean United's third-highest scorer in history will be starting further forward any time soon.

I have to look at where each player can make the biggest contribution. It's the composition, which is more important than the individual player.
Louis van Gaal on Wayne Rooney's role

"It is not that anybody isn't a good player in my selection," he said. "I have to look at where each player can make the biggest contribution. It's the composition, which is more important than the individual player."

The Dutchman was more guarded in his praise of goalkeeper David De Gea, who was this week picked out as United's key performer this season by Kevin Davies, the veteran Preston striker he will face in the FA Cup on Monday.

Asked whether De Gea is now the world's best he said: "I never speak about that because I can never judge other goalkeeper, I can only judge mine.

"He doesn't save any points as he is my goalkeeper and his obligation is to hold balls and you are thinking that is an exception for other goalkeepers? It is not like that."

De Gea is still likely to start at Deepdale as Victor Valdes continues to build up his fitness after a long-term knee injury.

Van Gaal said: "When you are out for more than one year, you have to show yourself at a lower level. Like Ashley Young is doing, like Michael Carrick did, it's always the same, it is normal."

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