Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal says he has no worries over Wayne Rooney’s ability to lead the line this season, reaffirming his confidence in the attacking options at his disposal.
Van Gaal’s men have started the season solidly if unspectacularly – claiming back-to-back 1-0 wins over Tottenham and Aston Villa – and Rooney was largely anonymous at Villa Park on Friday as Adnan Januzaj claimed the winner.
With Javier Hernandez and James Wilson providing competition for the Old Trafford captain, Van Gaal reiterated his belief in his strikers, with two weeks remaining until the end of the transfer window.
“I think all the media has written for a year that I have to put him in as a striker,” he told a news conference ahead of United’s UEFA Champions League clash with Club Brugge.
“So after two matches you are already doubting your own opinion. I cannot understand that.
“I always have confidence in my players but we don’t have only Wayne in the strikers, we have Adnan Januzaj, he played upfront in the USA and he has shown he can do that.
“We also have Chicharito, [James] Wilson, so I don’t think we lack strikers. Maybe you can ask the board of Manchester United, if you are the coach or the manager. Then you can discuss it with your staff.”
In a prickly media briefing, Van Gaal stated he would not answer questions on De Gea – the goalkeeper having been out of action due to his state of mind amid reports of a move to Real Madrid.
The former Netherlands boss also defended his limited use of Januzaj last season, the Belgian having been a rare bright spot in predecessor David Moyes’ brief tenure.
“Adnan has eight starts last season, 14 as a substitute so saying he didn’t have any chances is not true in my opinion,” he added.
“I want to stipulate that because ‘a lot of people [thinking he was underused]’ is not a good argument.
“He had to compete last season with 24 players, he is 20 years old. The characteristics of a young player is that he’s not consistent and he has to show that.
“Maybe he can show that this season. At a club like Manchester United you never have a guarantee in your XI – he knows that and all players know that.
“You can say that he was the best player and he has to have a position – he is very pleased you say that – but it is easy to say that without responsibility.”
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