Van Gaal is relying on Rooney

Wayne Rooney in action against Club America
Wayne Rooney in action against Club America
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Manchester United are prepared to start the season with Wayne Rooney as their only established senior striker.

Louis van Gaal has sold Robin van Persie to Fenerbahce and decided against signing Radamel Falcao on a permanent basis from Monaco.

That means the United boss has been left with Rooney, unproven youngster James Wilson, and Javier Hernandez, who spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, in the forwards department.

United have been linked with a number of strikers this summer including Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, Tottenham forward Harry Kane and Edinson Cavani of Paris St Germain.

But it seems United are unlikely to bid for another striker before the transfer window shuts on September 2.

Rooney played in midfield at times last season, but it is understood that Van Gaal wants to use his captain as a central striker in a 4-3-3 formation this campaign.

The 29-year-old played as a lone frontman in United’s tour opener against Club America in Seattle on Saturday and he is likely to remain up front this season.

Even if Rooney gets injured before the transfer window shuts, senior sources at the club insist Van Gaal would probably refrain from dipping into the market for a striker.

Van Gaal is understood to be confident about the number of goals he has in his team.

The United manager has been impressed by Memphis Depay’s shooting technique and free-kicks in training so he believes the £25m winger can replicate the kind of form that saw him bang in 22 league goals for PSV Eindhoven last term.

Depay was encouraged by the way he combined with Rooney in the 1-0 win over Club America at CenturyLink Field.

“Wayne coached me a lot through the game and talked to me about which position I should take and when to defend,” the Dutchman said.

“We have to form a duo and I have the right feeling with him. It’s an honour to play with such a legend.”

There is also a feeling among senior figures at the club that Hernandez will come good at United this season despite being offloaded to Real Madrid last term.

Van Gaal revealed the Mexican will join up with United’s touring party on Saturday.

“He can prove himself again and now Falcao and Van Persie are gone, his chances are better,” the United manager said.

A decision on whether to send Wilson out on loan will be taken later in the transfer window. The teenager is likely to get a run-out in United’s second tour match against the San Jose Earthquakes on Tuesday night.