Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal thinks that it about time that captain Wayne Rooney turned on the magic we all know the England striker is capable of by scoring some goals this afternoon at his old stomping ground Goodison Park, as the Red Devils look to bounce back from their humiliating 3-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates in their last match before the international break.
Meanwhile a return to Goodison Park is always tough for the local boy from Croxteth, who left his boyhood club to sign for Manchester United in 2004 for a then record breaking £30 million, a decision that Everton fans have never forgiven him for.
Rooney has struggled playing against his former club, scoring just two-goals in ten visits to his home town, but manager Louis van Gaal still has faith in his captain, and hopes this afternoon’s match gives Rooney the opportunity to show what he is capable of.
“Maybe against Everton his average is not so good, so it’s getting time that he changed that pattern,” the United manager said.
“I don’t know [why he has struggled], that you have to ask Wayne, but I’m a manager who analyses opponents and gives him advice as to how we can disorganise Everton’s defence and then maybe he can score.”
During the Red Devils pre-season tour of North America Rooney was backing himself to have a 30-goal season, yet so far the 29-year-old has managed just one goal in seven league appearances after having dropped back to a number No.10 role so that new boy Anthony Martial can play as the lead striker.
“He’s second striker. Our 10 is a second striker,” Van Gaal said. “That’s what my preference is but sometimes I need another type in midfield.
“We’ll have to see if he continues with that because Wayne can play in different positions.
“He’s scored for us in the Champions League. For me it is not so important who is scoring. We have scored a lot of goals.
“In the beginning your criticism was we don’t score goals but now we’ve scored a lot of goals and you’re picking up an individual player and I don’t like that.
“He’s our captain so that’s very important because his influence is bigger than every other player in our group.”
Van Gaal also believes that being club captain does not play a role in preventing Rooney from taking more shots on goal.
He said: “It is true some players are affected but I don’t believe [Rooney is], with his personality.”