Wayne Rooney may be the captain of Manchester United and one of the best players at the club, but he is not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.
That’s the message from United manager Louis van Gaal, who has made it clear that Rooney will have to earn his place in the team when he is available for selection after serving his suspension.
‘Nobody is walking back in my team, believe me’, The Mirror quotes the Dutchman as saying. ‘You have to earn it on the training ground. But every player here already knows that.
‘I have always said that just because players have the best name, it doesn’t mean that they are the best for the team. I am always looking for a constant level of performance from the team and from individual players’.
Rooney’s dismissal against West Ham United in the Premier League last month saw him earn a three-match suspension. The England forward sat out United’s 2-1 home victory over Everton before the two-week international break and is unavailable for Monday’s clash at West Bromwich Albion.
The 28-year-old, who joined the Red Devils from Everton in the summer of 2004 for a reported transfer fee of £27 million, will sit out the encounter against Chelsea at Old Trafford next Sunday as well.
Having been made the captain of United by Van Gaal at the start of the season, Rooney would have expected to walk straight back into the starting line-up against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium next month, but it appears that he will have to earn his place.