San Jose - Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal has saluted the leadership of Wayne Rooney as he prepares to reward the Red Devils captain by playing him in his preferred role of centre-forward.
Rooney was handed the captain's armband by van Gaal last August during his first season in charge at Old Trafford, and the England striker's performance in the role made a lasting impression on the Dutchman.
"I could not have expected more," van Gaal told reporters here Monday as United prepared for the second game of their US tour against San Jose Earthquakes.
"I think he's a great captain. Better than I had expected. He is fully accepted by the players and that's also very important because I can choose the captain - but the players decide."
Rooney spent a frustrating season at United last year being deployed in various positions, from midfield, out wide or as a withdrawn striker.
Now however van Gaal plans to give Rooney an opportunity to nail down his favoured starting position as an out-and-out centre-forward.
"I've listened to you and that's why," van Gaal joked to journalists on Monday when asked to explain his decision.
"I think you have more knowledge than I, so now Rooney is there."
After United play San Jose on Tuesday they face a further game against Barcelona on Saturday before wrapping up their tour against Paris Saint Germain in Chicago.