Louis van Gaal has lavished praise on Wayne Rooney after naming him among the five best players he has worked with, but he still cannot understand what the Manchester United captain says when he speaks.
Van Gaal made the claim during an appearance on a Dutch TV chat show, in which he said he could not understand the England captain if he was sitting next to him in the same room.
Van Gaal told RTL4's Linda's Zommerweek: “When I speak, I am well articulated.
“If you put Wayne Rooney here in the seat, and you start talking to him, do you think people can understand Wayne Rooney? You simply can't understand what he says.”
Manchester United vs Liverpool combined XI
Manchester United vs Liverpool combined XI
1/10 GK: David De Gea
He hasn't even played this season, but De Gea goes straight into our side ahead of United team-mate Sergio Romero and Liverpool's Simon Mignolet. With the transfer window closed and his proposed move to Real Madrid over for now, Van Gaal is expected to bring the Spain international back into the fold and there's no question he's the best goalkeeper of the lot.
2/10 RB: Matteo Darmian
Arguably the toughest dilemma of the lot comes at right-back, with Darmian and Nathaniel Clyne both impressing so far this term. The nod goes to the United defender by a whisker based on how quickly the Italian has managed to resolve what has been a problem position for United for some time.
3/10 CB: Chris Smalling
For all the speculation over Manchester United signing a centre-back during the summer, Smalling has shown that the need for reinforcements isn't as great as some feared. The England international has been consistent and appears to be growing in confidence all the time. It means there's no place for Dejan Lovren, who in contrast appears to be regressing from the player Liverpool spent £20m to sign.
4/10 CB: Martin Skrtel
Thankfully for Liverpool, Skrtel has looked good this term, and beats Daley Blind to the other centre-back berth. United's Dutch midfielder/defender/full-back is still new to the central position.
5/10 LB: Luke Shaw
Joe Gomez has made an unexpectedly impressive start to his Anfield career, with the 18-year-old playing in every game since joining from Charlton. But Shaw has begun to show why Manchester United were willing to take such a huge gamble on a teenager, being solid defensively and a threat going forward.
6/10 M: Bastian Schweinsteiger
The World Cup winner is beginning to show why, despite concerns over his fitness, he's been among the best midfielders in Europe over recent years. With Michael Carrick injured, he'll be wanting to impress during a potential run in the starting line-up. He beats Adam Lallana to a place, with the Liverpool midfielder also only starting two games so far this term.
7/10 M: Morgan Schneiderlin
The former Southampton player has impressed in the centre of the park with his passing and ability to disrupt the opposition. James Milner, one of only two Liverpool midfielders to start every match this term is yet to set the world alight following his free transfer from Manchester City.
8/10 M: Memphis Depay
The young Netherlands international looks to be showing more ability and growing in confidence with each match and his recent European double offered a glimpse of the big future the summer signing could have at Old Trafford. It means there is no place for Roberto Firmino, one of Liverpool's big summer signings.
9/10 ST: Wayne Rooney
Rooney is still to score in four Premier League games, but his two-in-two for England and hat-trick in Europe indicates the striker is hitting form. However, he only makes it into the side because Coutinho, who has been Liverpool's best player so far this season, is suspended for Saturday's game.
10/10 ST: Christian Benteke
Joining Rooney in attack is Benteke. With just the one goal to his name the former Aston Villa player hasn't exactly been prolific, but he has been causing opposing defences a headache, particularly in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal. With Daniel Sturridge still out, Benteke will hope to begin writing himself into Anfield folklore with a goal at Old Trafford.
It’s not the first time that Rooney’s team addresses have been brought up after the national team skipper was credited for saying the right thing at the right time during last season. The 29-year-old, who hails from Croxeth in Liverpool and has a thick Liverpudlian accent, even resorted to swearing at his Spanish teammates in their native language in order to get across his unhappiness at times.
But Van Gaal was quick to praise Rooney, who joins Luis Figo, Ronaldo de Boer, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger among the Dutchman’s top five coachable players and labelled the record England goalscorer as the “best-ever captain” he has worked with.
Rooney and Van Gaal certainly had a busy week when it came to the headlines, as just a day after the striker broke Sir Bobby Charlton’s record for the most goals scored for the Three Lions, news of a row between Van Gaal and the United squad broke.
A number of players are believed to be unhappy with Van Gaal’s training methods and his use of video analyst Max Reckers, with both Rooney and Michael Carrick said to have approached Van Gaal to try and ease building tensions at Old Trafford.
However, if Van Gaal’s admission is anything to go by, the manager may not have had a clue what Rooney was trying to convey.
Rooney will hope that he can deliver another rousing team talk this weekend when United take on fierce rivals Liverpool in Saturday’s evening kick-off. Both sides enjoyed unbeaten starts to the campaign after taking seven points from their first three matches, but they are coming off defeats in their last outings as United went down 2-1 to Swansea while the Reds were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by West Ham.
T he Independent has launched a new football app! Live scores, in-game stats, breaking news, videos and push notifications are just some of the many features. Use the links below to download and get more from Indy Football...
he Independent has launched a new football app! Live scores, in-game stats, breaking news, videos and push notifications are just some of the many features. Use the links below to download and get more from Indy Football...
- More about:
- Manchester United