Louis van Gaal has admitted he would play Wayne Rooney as a striker if he were the England manager - but suggested he would keep him in midfield for Manchester United.
The United manager responded to Roy Hodgson's comments that the England captain would remain as a striker for his country by saying: "I would also put him there if I was coach of the English team."
Van Gaal conceded that Rooney, 29, was "maybe the best striker" at Old Trafford but argued that he needed him to fulfil another role. "I have explained already a lot of times that it is not because anyone is not a good player in my selection, but you have to compare," he said.
"And I have to like what is the biggest contribution where a player can play, and other players also. It is the composition of the team and the composition is more important than the individual player, I'm sorry for that.
"In the composition of Mr Hodgson, Rooney is probably giving more contribution to the English team when he is playing in the striker's position.
"I have to choose between [Radamel] Falcao, [Robin] Van Persie and all the other strikers I have, then it is my consideration and a different one. But he [Hodgson] has answered the same way I do now."
Hodgson has maintained that Rooney is "a goalscorer" and he wants to see him "in positions where he can get into the box" although he also added that he accepted United may want to use the player differently.
Rooney, who is yet to have a shot on target this year, is expected to captain United in tomorrow's FA Cup tie at Preston North End. Van Gaal also defended the contribution of Falcao amid the ongoing debate as to whether the club should sign the on-loan striker permanently despite the Colombian scoring only four goals this season. "I shall not judge only the goals," Van Gaal said. "It is a bigger view than that."