Monday 22 January 2018

RVP: 'I'm learning from Moyes and want to stay for years'

Van Persie crushes rumours of unrest at Old Trafford and pledges long-term future to club, writes Mark Ogden

Robin van Persie of Manchester United
Robin van Persie of Manchester United

Mark Ogden

Robin van Persie has broken his silence on his future at Manchester United with a defiant riposte aimed at banishing rumours of his unhappiness at Old Trafford and discontent with manager David Moyes.

Van Persie, whose reaction to being substituted by Moyes during the 3-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion last Saturday added fuel to speculation that he was seeking a summer move away from the club, has spoken freely about his situation in a candid interview ahead of Sunday's crucial home game against Liverpool.

Despite strong interest from Juventus, Van Persie (30) insisted he is happy under Moyes at United and would even be prepared to extend his stay beyond the remaining two years of his contract.

"Last time I checked, my head was still attached to my body," Van Persie said. "So I'm the only one who knows exactly what I'm feeling and that is not what I or the fans have been reading.

"The truth is I'm very happy here at this club. I signed for four years and I'd be delighted to stay even longer, beyond the next two years I have left on my contract. I'm very happy with my team-mates and I'm very happy with my manager and his staff.

"The sessions we have on the training ground are fantastic and I'm learning a lot from them every day."

Rumours of Van Persie's restlessness at Old Trafford this season date back to the autumn, with speculation emerging from his native Holland that Alex Ferguson's retirement had left the player shocked and deeply disappointed.

Moyes' more demanding training regime had also been highlighted as a source of irritation to Van Persie, whose injury-interrupted campaign has led to claims that the United manager's methods jar with his requirements.

Moyes has insisted, however, that Van Persie has been regularly consulted about his needs and levels of fitness and, for the first time, the former Arsenal striker has delivered an unequivocal show of support for the Scot's approach to the job.

"I've been a professional footballer for 12 years now and there's no doubt I'm learning new things and progressing with David Moyes," Van Persie said.

"Over the last few years, I've started to look more closely at the way coaches work to learn from them – not just here at the club, but with the international team as well.

"I've worked with some brilliant coaches and taken a real interest in all the methods they use and the choices they make. Moyes' sessions and the things he says in his team meetings are spot on.

"I really enjoy working under him and I'm absolutely convinced things will pick up and we'll turn it around.


"He really wants things to work and I want the same, just like the other players. We're all working hard to make this work."

Van Persie has endured a turbulent campaign under Moyes, with a succession of injuries denying him the opportunity to reproduce the form he displayed when leading the club to the title last term.

Despite the injury problems – a thigh strain sidelined him for almost two months during December and January – Van Persie's strike rate has remained impressive, with 14 goals in 23 appearances.

And his decision to address the speculation surrounding his future will come as a significant boost to Moyes in the build-up to Sunday's clash with Liverpool, a game which is likely to be pivotal in determining the prospects of both clubs this season.

The player's comments are understood to have been unprompted and at his own suggestion, with Van Persie speaking at length on Monday in the wake of criticism of his performance at the Hawthorns from prominent former players, supporters and the media.

His substitution at West Brom came shortly after referee Jonathan Moss spared him a red card following a potential second bookable offence with a late challenge on Steven Reid.

Van Persie's frustrated performance in the midlands, following an interview given to Dutch television when he suggested team-mates were getting in his way on the pitch during the Champions League defeat at Olympiakos, added to the perception of his unhappiness.

But while he insists he is prepared for observers to analyse his words and performances, Van Persie claims he has been misread and misunderstood.

"I don't do a lot of interviews," Van Persie said. "In fact, I think you can count my interviews this season on one hand, so maybe it's the case that, when I do speak, people want to turn it into something sensational.

"I don't mind that, it's part of the business we are in, and I don't mind if my performances get dissected and people criticise what I've done on the pitch.

"They can talk about my game 24/7 for all I care, and a lot of those opinions and criticisms may actually be right, so I don't mind that.

"What I need to address are the situations when people are taking it upon themselves to think for me, make assumptions.

"I know I probably only see about 10pc of what's written about me, but the things I have read recently aren't based on the truth. Talk about my performances or talk about a tackle that was too late. I don't mind.

"But it goes too far when people start suggesting, amongst other things, that I have a bad understanding with the manager.

"That's not true at all. There is mutual respect between us and the work environment is actually good."

(© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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