Charged with the task of turning United’s fortunes around following a forgettable 2013/14 campaign, the new man at the Old Trafford helm has wasted little time in putting his own stamp on things.
Van Gaal has introduced new coaching methods and a new formation, with the Dutchman favouring a 3-5-2 system that he believes plays to United’s strengths.
The change in approach means Rooney, a leading contender to take the captain’s armband, now gets to operate in his favoured central role, rather than being forced out wide onto the flanks.
The England international sees that benefiting him, fresh from a productive pre-season, but also sees United as a collective improving markedly as they adapt to a fresh way of doing things.
Rooney said: “The players are pleased because we are playing a new system which I don’t think any of us had played before, apart from maybe a couple of the foreign lads.
“We have had to work hard in training to try and get the things he wants from us on the pitch. We’ve done that so hopefully we can get better, keep learning and it will help us in the season to get consistent.
“I think the system suits the team, not only myself. The manager came in and had a look at the players we’ve got. He’s done what he thinks is best suited for our team.
“It is still pre-season but I feel we are progressing well and playing some good stuff.
“Obviously there’s still some stuff we need to learn but we can take a lot from the five games we have had here (in the United States).”
Rooney endured a tough time with England at the World Cup finals this summer, but he has flourished in pre-season and rounded off United’s American tour with another goal in a 3-1 victory over Premier League rivals Liverpool in the final of the International Champions Cup.
He added on his form heading into the new season: “I feel good and I am just excited for the season to start. I haven’t had much of a break so my fitness just needs topping up.
“The Liverpool game was my first 90 minutes since the World Cup and that will help me.
“We’ve got one pre-season game left now against Valencia.
“Hopefully I will get some minutes in that one as well and I will be ready for the start of the season against Swansea.”