Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes Wayne Rooney can lead his side to FA Cup glory and will start by getting the better of Arsenal at Old Trafford on 9 March.

The former Barcelona boss believes it is this fighting spirit that earns him cautions from referees and makes him culpable to being sent off at times.

The England international has never won the FA Cup in his illustrious career with United and is desperate to get the record straight and at the expense of Arsenal, who have in recent years failed to get the better of the Red Devils away from home.

Both teams will come into the fixture in similar form, with the Gunners only a point ahead of United on the league table in third spot and a result here for either team could give them a major boost for the top-four race, especially with Liverpool breathing down their necks.

Meanwhile, the Dutchman has not found his best match of players on the pitch this season and has used a plethora of combinations in his midfield and attack positions, even placing Rooney behind Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao at times.

However, with Van Persie injured, Rooney is likely to lead the attack against one of his favoured opponents, having scored 11 goals against the north London club including a hattrick in a 8-2 thumping at Old Trafford in 2011.

"I don't know how Rooney will motivate the dressing room but I think he shall do that because he is very motivated as a captain and a player," said Van Gaal. "He wants to win a title, he has not won the FA Cup and that is something that is missing.

"My first championship with Ajax was very important for me. It was also an emotional thing and you have seen how he was motivated in the last minute of the game against Newcastle.

"You saw him running and pressing for a lost ball [which led to United's late winner] and that was fantastic. Every human being has his own identity and character and this is Wayne's character.

"He has also picked up red cards because of that character, but against Newcastle it was fantastic."