Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has warned club captain Wayne Rooney that he shouldn’t expect being instantly brought back into the starting line-up after recovering from an illness, Mirror reports.
Rooney was sidelined for the Red Devils’ 2-1 win over Watford at Vicarage Road last weekend, but is now back in full training ahead of their Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday.
However, Van Gaal insists that Rooney is not a guaranteed starter, and that he needs to prove himself to earn back his spot.
“That is not automatic,” he said. “It is always a decision of the manager.
“I compare, I compare always players with each other and I take into account that how fit they are and how fit they show in the training sessions.
“That’s why Marouane Fellaini, Anthony Martial and Wayne Rooney have to show it on the training ground.
“Then I have to compare players with who are the best players to fit in with our game-plan. That is the same procedure with every match. Fitness is the most important thing. He has to show his fitness.”
The England international was not the only star player to receive a caution, with Van Gaal also warning Memphis Depay despite the winger scoring in their victory against Watford.
“I am a coach that always demands, not only one match, but several [good] matches,” said Van Gaal. “But what I have said is that it is always the same procedure. I compare players and the ones I think are best in our game-plan, they shall play.
“I think how he played [at Watford], it was more or less the same system as I played with the Dutch national team and he has more freedom. It is like Arjen Robben, he has more freedom and these players are feeling so happy with their freedom and he can excel then.
“He showed that in the first-half, especially. In the second-half he was a bit less [effective] than in the first. But that is also logical when you’re not playing, because the match rhythm of the Premier League is very high.”
If United manage to beat PSV, they are guaranteed to qualify for the knock-out phase after missing out on the competition entirely the previous term.
After playing the Dutch champions, Man United will travel to the KingPower Stadium to play league leaders Leicester City on Saturday.