Van Gaal challenges Rooney to end Everton drought

The United captain has not found the back of net in eight years at the home of his former club and his Dutch boss has urged the England striker to improve his record

Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has challenged Wayne Rooney to end his goal drought against Everton on Saturday.

The England captain has failed to score at Goodison Park since 2007 and has only one goal in the Premier League so far this season, which came on the opening day against Tottenham in August.

Rooney is set to start on Saturday after recovering from an ankle problem and Van Gaal wants his captain to improve his tally against his former club.

“So maybe against Everton he can change but his average is not so good [against them]. So it’s time that he changed that pattern,” he said.

“I don’t know [why his record is poor]. That you have to ask Wayne but I’m a manager who analyses opponents and gives him advice as to how we can disorganise Everton’s defence and then maybe he can score.

“That is what I’m doing, not only for Wayne but all the players, especially from the view of the team tactics rather than the individual tactics.”

Van Gaal refused to criticise Rooney’s all-round form this season despite the 29-year-old adding just one assist to his solitary Premier League goal so far.

“You cannot answer that because he’s part of the team,” he said. “He’s scored for us in the Champions League. So for me it is not so important who is scoring. We have scored a lot of goals.

“In the beginning your criticism was we don’t score goals but now we’ve scored a lot of goals and you’re picking up on an individual player and I don’t like that.

“He’s our captain so that’s very important because his influence is bigger than every other player in our group. He’s a very important player for me, his colleagues, everybody.

“Have we created enough chances? Yes, I think so. I think we have chances to score in every game. Also against Arsenal, after the first 20 minutes we have created a lot of chances. And also after [going behind] 3-0. So I think the spirit in the team is very good.

“It’s not a given in every team that you can create a lot of chances at 3-0 down and we did it, so that’s the positive thing. But of course it’s very important that out of your chances you score and against Arsenal we didn’t.”

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