SportSoccer

Van Gaal admits Rooney is not a certain starter

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Van Gaal ready for PSV Eindhoven test on Wednesday
Van Gaal ready for PSV Eindhoven test on Wednesday

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has stressed that his skipper Wayne Rooney is not assured of a place in his starting line-up for Wednesday night's Champions League clash against PSV Eindhoven.

Rooney has returned to training with fellow forwards Anthony Martial and Marouane Fellaini, after the trio missed last Saturday's Premier League win at Watford.

Yet they are certain to start against PSV at Old Trafford, after Memphis Depay impressed in a central striking role last weekend.

"It is not automatic," Van Gaal said, as he was quizzed Rooney's return to his team. "It is always a decision of the manager.

"Fellaini, Rooney and Martial have to show their fitness and then I have to compare which are the best players to fit in our game plan. That is the same procedure every match."

Meanwhile, Van Gaal has again stated that he is keen to add pace to his team in wide positions, as rumours persist that Cristiano Ronaldo could make a return to United next summer.

"I have already said that we need fast wingers to get us to where we have to be," he stated, while side-stepping suggestions that he was lining up a bid to sign his Dutch compatriot Arjen Robben from Bayern Munich.

The United boss also offered words of praise for Depay, after his improved showing against Watford.

"How he played was more or less the same system as I played with the Dutch national team," he added.

"Then he has more freedom, it is like Arjen Robben, he has more freedom and these players are feeling so happy with their freedom and he can excel then.

"He showed that in the first half especially. In the second half, he was a bit less (involved) than in the first half but that is also logical when you are not playing because the match rhythm of the Premier League is very high."

Young striker James Wilson could return to the United squad as he is back in training after suffering a swollen knee ahead of the Watford game.