Louis van Gaal praises “inspirational” nonpresence of Wayne Rooney ahead of Manchester United’s crunch tie with Wolfsburg

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Louis van Gaal has spoken of the “inspirational” nonpresence of Wayne Rooney ahead Manchester United’s crunch Champions League tie against Wolfsburg on Tuesday night.

Knowing his side need a win to guarantee progression to the next round in Europe’s elite club competition, van Gaal heaped praise upon what he described as the “silent yet undeniable” motivation in his squad instigated by his captain’s absence.

“It’s one thing having Wayne injured, but having him injured and away from the squad brings a quiet confidence to the players. Knowing that no matter where we are, he won’t be standing right behind us – it’s palpable,” said the Dutchman, adding that his players put a lot of value in not having their captain there.

“Always knowing deep in our hearts that Wayne isn’t with us at any step of this journey makes us feel like we can accomplish anything.”

At press time, van Gaal had urged his players to savour the moment because it wouldn’t be long before Rooney was back running amok in the first team.

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