The DC United forward played under Ferguson for nine years and won eight major honours during a trophy-laden period with the Scot. Van Gaal joined United a year after Ferguson’s retirement but he was sacked two years later after alienating supporters with a dreadful brand of football. Rooney was made club captain under the Dutchman but struggled to hit top form and was moved into midfield as an acceptance that his days as a forward were over.
The 33-year-old claims Van Gaal was the best coach he’s ever worked with and says he will use his methods when he becomes a manager. ‘Van Gaal is by far the best coach I have worked with – one hundred per cent,’ said Rooney. ‘His tactical skills, his way of preparing and his attention to the finest of details, I found amazing. I admired that in him. I had never looked at stuff like that before.’
United’s squad struggled to adapt to Van Gaal’s methods and felt overloaded with information going into matches. As captain, it was Rooney’s task to deliver that message to the Dutchman and he admits having some difficult conversations with the former Barcelona boss. ‘Van Gaal knows that the way he works is tough for players. I made him aware of that at the time and we talked about this very well together,’ continued Rooney. ‘I regret how it all ended, yet I know one thing for sure – I have learnt a lot from him and I am definitely going to use those lessons for when I am a manager.’