United achieved their objective of clinching a top-four spot this season and skipper Rooney believes that can now be a platform for Van Gaal's squad.
Wayne Rooney believes Manchester United are on their way back to being title contenders after just one season under Louis van Gaal.
United achieved their objective of clinching a top-four spot this season and skipper Rooney believes that can be a platform for Van Gaal's squad to mount a sustained challenge for silverware next season.
"Unfortunately no silverware this season, but I think we're looking forward," said Rooney, speaking at United's Player of the Year Awards at Old Trafford.
"We've done what we wanted to do this season. The main aim this season was to get back in the Champions League. We've done that and we know we've got the quality in the squad to push on next season.
"We want to go and win the last game of the season, then next season we really want to push for silverware."
Rooney admitted it was vital for United to make an immediate return to the Champions League after last season's debacle under former boss David Moyes, when they finished seventh.
"It was very important," said Rooney. "If you look at Liverpool and what happened to them, they were without it for years, which was no shame, but I think one year was far too much for this club.
"Our main objective this season was to get back into playing Champions League football and kick on next season. We're establishing a very good squad, who I believe can go on and win silverware next year."
Asked to sum up what it has been like working under Van Gaal in his first season as United boss, Rooney said: "Tough. No, the manager has come in and he's been excellent.
"It's a different way of working, a different way to what we were used to, but I think the players have embraced that.
"I think the first few months it was different, we found it tough and I think that probably showed in our performances.
"But since then I think everyone has seen the quality of football we've been playing and I'm sure with the experience the manager has got we'll kick on from that, learn a lot and it will benefit us."
Rooney revealed he did not vote for goalkeeper David De Gea, the overwhelming favourite, for United's Players' Player of the Year award.
"I voted for Ashley Young," said Rooney. "I'm sure he is [on the verge of an England recall]. He had a difficult season last year, he didn't play much, and I know he found that tough.
"He had a bit of stick from the fans, but he's come back, turned that around and been incredible this year, that's why I voted for him."