Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney dropped to bench for Stoke clash
Louis van Gaal has dropped captain Wayne Rooney for Manchester United's crunch game at Stoke.
United manager Van Gaal is under pressure after failing to win any of his last six matches.
Speculation has been rife all week that Van Gaal will be sacked if he does not start winning matches.
And the Dutchman took the controversial decision to drop Rooney from his starting XI for the game at Stoke on Boxing Day.
The United skipper, who has scored just two Premier League goals so far this season, was named on the bench for the encounter at the Britannia Stadium.
France striker Anthony Martial led the line for United instead.
Van Gaal later explained Rooney's omission to the BBC. He said: " It is our game plan. With this game plan it is better to pay with Ander Herrera instead of Wayne Rooney.
"It is not a drastic measure, it is my gameplan. That's for us, not for you! We have done everything we can do, I have seen a fantastic attitude of my players so I fully believe in this game.
"The conditions are the main factor but we have to cope with it. You can say that you don't like wind but you have to cope with it."