The Old Trafford chief has talked up the England star’s flexibility but confessed that his captain could be left out on occasion.
The England international has been predominantly used in a deeper role since the former Barcelona manager’s appointment at Old Trafford, with Rooney organising the team’s possession and supplying superstar strikers Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.
Despite the United captain’s strong recent form, Van Gaal has confessed that Rooney will not play every game.
"It’s dependable on how the balance in the team is. I need balance in the team. I’m looking for the balance," Van Gaal told MUTV.
"I hope to perform better because then the game shall be more attractive. I don’t know if I shall use him always because it’s also dependable of the form of the strikers.
"He’s also a very good striker so I can use him on different positions and I like that because I like multi-functional players. I normally buy more multi-functional players than specialists.”
James Wilson is another attacking option for United, and Van Gaal has admitted that he wants to allow young talent a chance to shine for the club.
“I have had the time to know all my players,” the former Netherlands boss continued.
"That’s another exciting time because that’s why I became a manager. I want to work with young people. It keeps you young and you can make a team out of it. Now we are still building up and in the process."
United are hopeful of qualifying for the Champions League again this season and at the time of writing sit third in the Premier League table.
The Red Devils host Southampton in their next fixture this weekend.