One to Watch - Robin van Persie
Name: Robin van Persie
Date of Birth: 6/8/1983
Former Clubs: Feyenoord, Arsenal
League Appearances (Goals): 267 (118)
International Appearances (Goals): 71 (31)
Stat of the Day: Robin van Persie has hit the woodwork 4 times this season, more than any other player in the Premier League
Player Profile: Having listened to the little boy inside him screaming for Manchester United, Robin van Persie has already made an inspiring start to his Old Trafford career. Arsenal fans attempted in vain to engineer justifiable reasons as to why it was acceptable to let him leave; ageing, injury plagued and not worth £24 million were just a few of their laughable excuses. They failed to realise that Alex Ferguson rarely makes decisions without great reason (one of which letting Park Ji Sung I`m sure), as he secured the signing of a world-class striker at the peak of his career, seemingly over his injury worries and with numerous years left at the top. And the fact that he really does score when he wants. Three of van Persie`s Dutch predecessors - Stam, van Nistelrooy and van de Saar - have all enjoyed flourishing spells at Old Trafford and if the untouchable striker`s excellent start to the season can be maintained, he will be hoping to fashion a similar mark on United`s history.
Much has been made of Hughes` (although more importantly now his coaching staff) meticulous planning for games, and so it must just be Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki`s luck that even Arsene Wenger stated no amount of analysis can guarantee a way of keeping van Persie quiet. A disciplined and well-organized strategy would be the best plan of action, but the Dutchman only needs that extra half a second to find that extra pocket of space or take an extra touch for that devastating effect. We could revel in the striker`s superb recent performances all night, but for now we must pray that a fresh start at QPR will be the main player in keeping van Persie quiet on Saturday.
Robin van Persie started out at Dutch club SBV Excelsior at the age of 14, before he signed for Feyenoord a year later in 2001. He made his first team debut at the age of just 17 and received the KNVB Best Young Talent award at the end of the 2001/2002 season. He signed his first professional three-and-a-half year contract with Feyenoord in the following season, scoring five goals in a 6-1 Amstel Cup thrashing of AGOVV on 6 February 2003. Frequent altercations with manager Bert van Marwijk let to limited appearances and few clubs were interested in taking the hot prospect due to van Persie`s apparent disciplinary issues.
van Persie`s final two campaigns in Holland yielded 15 goals and 7 assists in 51 appearances before Wenger decided to take a risk with the striker, planning on converting him from a left winger to a centre forward à la Thierry Henry. van Persie signed for Arsenal in May 2004 for a bargain fee of £2.75 million and in his first season was largely limited to substitute appearances. The following season van Persie revelled in a more central role and soon became a crowd favourite at Highbury. Injuries hindered the Dutchman`s development for the next few seasons, but when the striker played he always put in special performances. In 2010 van Persie was given the coveted number 10 shirt, previously worn by Dennis Bergkamp, and the frontman produced performances to match his predecessor`s legendary status. The Arsenal favourite managed 96 league goals in 194 league appearances for The Gunners, before he moved to Old Trafford last summer for a fee of £24 million.
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