United beat fierce rivals Manchester City 4-2 on Sunday to move up to third in the table, although Rooney appeared to have played no more than a minor role in the victory.
The forward managed just 35 touches in the game, a joint-record low for him in the Premier League, but Neville says it was a different kind of performance from the England and United captain in which he sought to dominate the City centre backs.
“Sunday was a silent domination of City’s centre-backs,” said Neville.
“I would think Louis van Gaal will have watched that game back and might think that was Rooney’s best performance for Manchester United under him. To get that player to play like that is a fantastic achievement.”
By dominating City centre-backs Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis, then later Eliaquim Mangala, Rooney allowed the rest of his team to dominate the space in front of the defence, helping them to their impressive victory.
The space created by the forward allowed the likes of Ander Herrera, Juan Mata, Ashley Young and Marouane Fellaini to get into attacking positions, with three of those grabbing goals in the game.
And Neville believes that will have meant manager van Gaal will have walked away from the game very pleased with the performance.
“I think Louis van Gaal would have been happiest with him yesterday,” he added.
“I would think Louis van Gaal will have watched that game back and might think that was Rooney’s best performance for Manchester United under him.”