Arsenal’s original flying Dutchman has witnessed Van Persies rise to stardom since his arrival to the North London side in 2004, and admits that it was easy to see his potential to be a top drawer player as his compatriot listened and learned from the talent around him, despite reports for the Netherlands portraying RVP as having a bad temperament and attitude.
The current Gunners captain and talisman has matured into one of Europe’s most feared forwards having netted a sensational club record 35 top-flight goals in 2011 and has scored 29 in all competitions this season.
Considering his prolific goal scoring record since overcoming a series of injuries, it’s amazing that he has only completed just two campaigns as a centre forward, originally a winger and before switching to the ‘Bergkamp’ role of sitting behind the striker. Bergkamp has hailed his transition to Arsenal’s front man and hopes he can win some trophies very soon.
Bergkamp told the Official Arsenal Magazine:
He has been playing in a role which is very difficult.
I think it’s easier for a guy like Robin or me to play behind the striker, and feed the main striker and sometimes get the space to do your own thing. But basically he is the one up front who has to make a difference, which puts a lot of pressure on him, but it seems like he can deal with it.
It seems he can make the difference time after time and in my opinion that describes a great player. It’s fantastic how he has developed himself, and players like that deserve trophies. So I honestly hope that comes soon, because his character and style of play is fantastic.
As soon as he trained with us you could see his potential. He seemed free, he played with a lot of freedom. You could see immediately he was a very talented player.
I got to know him a bit, obviously with us both being Dutch, so I tried to help him with a few things. You could really tell that he’s a good person, a good lad, and totally the opposite to the stories that were coming out of Holland at the time about him.
They said he was a difficult character, wouldn’t listen to experienced players and so on, but he was a great example of a player making the right move at the right time. He joined a settled team with a lot of big players, and from day one he respected those players and listened to them, and I think that helped him a lot.
Van Persie has certainly been making the difference this season, netting the vast majority of Arsenal’s goals. He followed a similar path to Henry, starting out wide before progressing to the main man, the centre forward. All Arsenal’s attacking play runs through the Dutchman now so it is essential he remains fit for the remainder of the season.
He was substituted at halftime in Netherlands’ friendly against England as earlier this week the striker had pulled out of training struggling with his groin. Although he was judged as fit, the Dutch coach had planned to only played him for 45 minutes as a precautionary measure. He was probably scared of Wenger’s wrath if RVP became back injured, so thank goodness he’s ok and he should be fine for this weekends blockbuster tie away to Liverpool.