Robin van Persie can become Manchester United hero says Edwin van der Sar


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The Independent Football

Edwin van der Sar is certain Robin van Persie will be a big success at Manchester United.

Van Persie turned to his former international colleague for advice prior to his summer move from Arsenal.

Already Van Persie has had a positive impact, scoring eight times in his first 11 appearances, including a memorable hat-trick at Southampton in August.

But Van der Sar is confident there is much more to come from the 29-year-old, who won last season's Premier League Golden Boot prize when he edged out Wayne Rooney.

"I am glad Van Persie is there," said Van der Sar.

"It is always nice when someone like that decides to go to the club.

"I spoke to him about it and I know it is the right place for him. He can really add something to the team.

"It was difficult for him at first because he didn't know if he was running into the right areas. But he has settled in very well.

"He is a great guy to have around. He works so hard on and off the pitch.

"I know there has been a focus on youth at United but he will improve the team."

Sir Alex Ferguson will want Van Persie in top form this weekend when United visit Chelsea in a top-of-the-table Premier League clash.

The Red Devils have not won a domestic game at Stamford Bridge since 2002 and despite Chelsea's surprise defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday, Van der Sar is not expecting it to be any easier this time around.

"We didn't win at Chelsea too many times when I was at United and it won't be any easier this weekend," he said.

"They have changed their formation. They are more lively now and have more go-forward in their team.

"They certainly look to have great attacking options in midfield, which is the area United seem to have struggled a little bit.

"So far United have not had many tests, just Tottenham, and unfortunately they lost that. But this will be a big one."

Van der Sar will fit the match in around his training schedule for the New York Marathon on November 4, which the 41-year-old is running to raise funds for Headway, the UK-wide charity that supports people affected by brain injury.

The charity is particularly close to Van der Sar's heart because at Christmas 2009 his wife Annemarie suffered a brain haemorrhage.

Thankfully, she has made good progress in her recovery and will be doing the 5km Dash to the Finish Line event in New York 24 hours before the main race.

"Running a marathon is unlike anything I have done," he said.

"You can recall all those bad weights sessions, or the work you had to do in pre-season, but marathon running is worse than any of it, probably the hardest thing I have had to do in my entire life.

"But it is something that is important to me, so the pain is worth it."