With Nemanja Vidic having left the club for Inter in the summer, the England striker was announced as his replacement three days ago, while Darren Fletcher took up the vice-captain role.
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When asked why he selected the 28-year-old forward as his skipper, the Dutch coach said: "His attitude, of course. That is more on the pitch and on the training ground. Not so much off the pitch but I have explained to him that off the pitch is also very important to me.
"He accepted the responsibility and I like him very much: how he trained and also how he performed in the games, how he performed to his fellow players.
"On Tuesday, I said to him that maybe it is too much for him to be captain. But let it fly, I said, let it fly. In the US, he scored a lot of goals and made a great amount of assists. I want to see that Wayne."
Van Gaal has also insisted that he is yet to meet Sir Alex Ferguson since arriving at the club. He added: "No, until this moment I have not found the time to do that and I do not know if he is at home.
"He called off [going on tour] but I have also been very busy. That is the reason."