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Van Gaal keeps Rooney on his toes with mixed messages

ESPN staff
January 6, 2015
Wayne Rooney has scored 14 goals in all competitions for Manchester United this season © Getty Images

Wayne Rooney might find himself a little confused over manager Louis van Gaal's latest words of wisdom.

The Manchester United captain has flourished during the Dutchman's regime and would have been happy to hear him say recently that Rooney would "always play" under him - unless his form turned sour.

With Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao failing to fire on all cylinders, Rooney has proved worthy of the skipper's job and contributed 14 goals in all competitions.

Van Gaal hopes to prolong the England star's career by moving him into midfield and appreciates him as a "multi-functional" star.

But the tune has changed a little over the forward's place on the teamsheet. The United manager wants to build a team of youngsters and indicated that Rooney's place in the side, now, is uncertain.

"It's dependable on how the balance in the team is. I need balance in the team. I'm looking for the balance," Van Gaal told MUTV when asked about Rooney's guaranteed place in the side.

"I hope to perform better because then the game shall be more attractive. I don't know if I shall use him always because it's also dependable of the form of the strikers.

"He's also a very good striker so I can use him on different positions and I like that because I like multi-functional players. I normally buy more multi-functional players than specialists.

"I have had the time to know all my players. That's another exciting time because that's why I became a manager. I want to work with young people. It keeps you young and you can make a team out of it. Now we are still building up and in the process."

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