Updated: Friday, 6th December 2019 @ 5:51am

Leading by example: Van Gaal praises Rooney as Man Utd look to continue 2016 form

Leading by example: Van Gaal praises Rooney as Man Utd look to continue 2016 form

| By Adam Leah

Louis van Gaal claims that Manchester United’s upturn in form during 2016 is largely down to the improved performances from captain Wayne Rooney.

The Red Devils striker has scored five goals in United’s four unbeaten games so far this year and will lead the side out tomorrow against Southampton at Old Trafford.

Following United’s victory at Liverpool last Saturday, reports claim that Rooney was heard shouting at his colleagues in the changing room at half-time but Van Gaal says he is happy for his skipper to lead the half-time discussions.

“Responsibility for the result and commitment for the result are very important,” explained the Dutchman.

“Not only Wayne Rooney is doing that, there are several players doing that and that is what I want because the players are self-responsible and it is not only down to the manager which is why I have made this approach to the players.

“It is a fact that since Rooney is scoring we have won our games, or at least we draw against Newcastle United away.

“There is a parallel and I have said that always that he is not only important as a player but as a captain, so I am very happy with him.”

Bastian Schweinsteiger and Phil Jones are still ruled out for the game against the Saints but Adnan Januzaj is in contention to feature after scoring twice in the Under 21s’ 4-0 win over Southampton on Monday.

Ashley Young is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a groin injury, and with a lack of options at full-back Van Gaal admits the club are looking to bring in reinforcements during the current transfer window.

“I need full-backs and you have seen how I have used youngsters like [Cameron] Borthwick-Jackson and [Guillermo] Varela who are doing great but the level of Manchester United is high,” he said.

“To give a high performance every week normally is very difficult for youngsters, which is why we have to look always in this transfer period for replacements.

“The difficulty is that we ask for a level and the clubs do not want to sell in this period and that is our problem - we are looking, but it is not so easy.”

Image courtesy of Nike Football via YouTube, with thanks.