Wayne Rooney
Rooney could be handed deeper role, says van GaalGetty

Louis van Gaal has described Wayne Rooney's performances up front as "not spectacular" and hinted his captain will no longer play as a striker in his first choice XI.

After starting up front in the club's first four games of the season, Rooney was deployed in a deeper role at the tip of a midfield diamond at the weekend as United slumped to a 5-3 defeat to Leicester City after taking a 3-1 lead.

Robin van Persie scored his first goal of the season in the loss at the King Power Stadium while Radamel Falcao impressed in his full debut, leading van Gaal to suggest Rooney could make way for the Colombian up front.

"Rooney can play in more positions, he is a multi-functional player and I have tried him in a striker's position," van Gaal said.

"He has played well, but not spectacular. Falcao is a striker and I think he can do it better."

Rooney has scored twice this season against Swansea City and Queens Park Rangers playing as a striker but could now contend with Juan Mata for a number 10 role.

The England and United captain has also taken up positions out on the left for both club and country throughout his career and insists he will happily do the same under Louis van Gaal should his manager make that call.

"I am happy to play out wide – I can do a job there and I can do a job up front," Rooney said. "It depends on the situation of each game and what the manager wants me to do."

With Rooney occupying a wider or deeper position, van Gaal will be hoping van Persie and Falcao can strike an understanding and has no fears of the two goal scorers getting in each other's way.

"I don't think that Falcao interferes with Van Persie or that he interferes with Falcao," van Gaal said. "Falcao is a very good striker, I already said that when he came here in his first press conference.

"I like Van Persie as well – he is also a very good striker," the boss continued. "Then we have Wayne Rooney and Adnan Januzaj, and we also have James Wilson. We have five players for the two striker positions and I have to choose."