Player of the Week - Robin van Persie
Will van Persie win the Golden Boot?
The Netherlands started their World Cup campaign with a fantastic victory against World Champions Spain. The Dutch team won 5-1, with 2 goals from Manchester United striker, Robin van Persie, and 2 more from Bayern Munich forward, Arjen Robben. Van Persie and Robben were the best players on the pitch and van Persie scored an amazing diving header to get the Netherlands back into the match just before half-time. In the second half, Spain had no answer to the attacking play of the Dutch, who finished as convincing winners. The Netherlands took revenge for their defeat in the 2010 World Cup Final and will be looking to progress to the final in Brazil. The Netherlands appear to be one of the strongest teams in the tournament and with van Persie finding the back of the net on a regular basis, they could reach their second consecutive final.
What do we know about Robin van Persie?
Robin van Persie was born in Rotterdam in the Netherlands on 6 August 1983. Both of his parents are artists, and when he was young he was encouraged to follow the same activity. However, he is not an artist in the traditional sense of the word: “I don't see things the way my parents do. They can look at a tree and see something amazing, but I just see a tree.” His art happens on the football pitch. “I think there is a creative connection with my parents. But I think football is where my creativity comes out.” As a youngster, the attraction of football was stronger and he started playing for local club SBV Excelsior when he was 14.
Who does van Persie listen to?
Van Persie began his senior career in 2001 with Rotterdam club Feyenoord and stayed there for three years, winning the UEFA Cup in 2002. His first English club was Arsenal, who paid Feyenoord £2.75m for him in 2004 – a bargain! Another excellent Dutch striker was already playing for the Gunners: Dennis Bergkamp. Robin spent eight good years at the London club, but moved north to Manchester United for a fee of £22.5m in August 2012. "I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations,” he said, “when you have to make the harder decisions in life. That boy was screaming for Man United."
Why did van Persie leave Arsenal?
One of the reasons Robin van Persie left Arsenal to join Manchester United was a hunger for trophies, a hunger that was not being satisfied at the London club. In his eight years there he won just one significant trophy – the FA Cup in 2005. Arsenal drew the Final 0-0 with United, but won 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out, in which van Persie scored. He was Arsenal Player of the Year twice (2008/09 and 2011/12) and won the Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year award at United in his first season at Old Trafford. He got his wish for a major trophy in the same year when United won the Premier League.
What do others say about van Persie?
Arsenal manager Arséne Wenger moved van Persie from the left wing to a more central role: “He has a brain. His movement is intelligent around the box.” Former Manchester United and Holland striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy said: “He can play the No. 9 and No. 10 roles together. He puts the goals in and provides a lot.” His former manager at United, Sir Alex Ferguson, says: “His authority, timing and understanding of the game is complete.” Argentinian star Leonel Messi agrees: “Van Persie is the complete player. He has the entire package.” And according to Swansea’s Spanish striker Michu: “For me, to be honest, he is the best striker in the world.”
Which other Dutch players have starred in the Premier League?
A lot of excellent Dutch players have represented clubs in the Premier League, including Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal, 1995/2006), Ruud Gullit (Chelsea, 1995/98), Edgar Davids (Tottenham Hotspur, 2005/07), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United, 2001/06) and Arjen Robben (Chelsea, 2004/07). And a number are playing in the top division now, including Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Jos Hooiveld (Southampton), and Vurnon Anita and Tim Krul (Newcastle United). And of course, Robin van Persie. He has made around 80 appearances for the Dutch national team, scoring over 45 goals, and has recently been made captain. Holland have qualified for the 2014 World Cup, which will be their tenth.
What did you understand?
Did you know......?
- Robin van Persie grew up supporting Dutch team, Feyenoord.
- Van Persie was originally a left winger, but converted to a striker.
- Some of the biggest influences on his career are, Thierry Henry, Dennis Begkamp and Marco van Basten.
- Van Persie took the number 20 shirt at Manchester United because they were looking for their 20th league title.
- The Netherlands is the official name of van Persie's country, but is often called Holland, especially in football. North and South Holland are two areas in the Netherlands.