Wayne Rooney: Man Utd striker still important, says Van Gaal

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney returns to his former club Everton on Saturday for the 10th time

Wayne Rooney remains a key player for Manchester United despite his recent poor record in front of goal, says manager Louis van Gaal,

England's all-time leading scorer, 29, has only managed four goals in the last 18 games for his club.

"He's our captain so that's very important because his influence is bigger than every other player in our group," said the Dutchman.

"He's a very important player for me, his colleagues, everybody."

Third-placed United are at Everton on Saturday (15:00 BST), with Rooney having only twice found the net in nine encounters at his former club - and none since 2007.

Asked whether he is more subdued when he returns to the Toffees, Van Gaal added: "It's time that he changed that behaviour.

"I don't know why, that you have to ask Wayne. But I'm a manager who analyses opponents and give him advice as to how we can disorganise Everton's defence and then maybe he can score.

"That is what I'm doing, not only for Wayne but all the players, especially from the view of the team tactics rather than the individual tactics."

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