Robin van Persie: Manchester United manager David Moyes says the club are looking to extend 'happy' striker's contract
United manager 'very pleased' to hear Dutch forward wants to stay
Charles Reynolds is a freelance writer and journalist specialising in sport and the arts. He writes the Premier League previews for The Independent online and writes regularly for The Sport Review.
Friday 14 March 2014
David Moyes is expecting the club to consider handing Robin Van Persie a new deal at Manchester United after the striker expressed a desire to remain there.
The Dutchman had been linked with a move away, following reports that he was unhappy with Moyes and his side's underachievement this season, but he quashed those rumours by saying last night that he was happy at the club.
Van Persie said he was keen to extend his time with the club and Moyes believes that the Manchester United board would be interested in doing just that:
"It's nice of Robin (to say he is happy to stay)," the United manager said.
"He is happy here and we are very pleased about that.
"He has a couple of years to go on his contract and I am sure that (an extension) is something the board will look at."
Moyes also used it as an opportunity to express the fact that he had always denied reports that Van Persie was unhappy at United in the first place.
"I have been telling you that (he is happy) but you don't believe what I say," the Scot said.
However he was forced to admit that Liverpool will come to Old Trafford for the derby game this Sunday in the unusual position of being favourites.
"Their league position suggests they are ahead of us and they possibly do come here favourites," he said.
Van Persie last night sought to address persistent doubts about his commitment to the club, which intensified with his apparent unhappiness about his 63rd minute substitution at West Bromwich Albion last Saturday, by giving an emphatic endorsement of manager David Moyes’ coaching methods.
The Dutchman’s discussion of Moyes – in an interview for this weekend’s match programme - delivers a boost to the manager ahead of another huge weekend, on which defeat to Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday could means the old enemy effectively displacing United from the Champions League.
“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,” the 30-year-old said, in a rare interview – the contents of which are likely to dominate Moyes’ weekly press conference at 1.30pm on Friday. “The sessions we have on the training ground are fantastic and I’m learning a lot from them every day. 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.
“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 I’ve taken a real interest in all the methods they use and the choices they make. And I can tell you that 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.
Van Persie offers a firm rebuttal to suggestions that he has “a bad understanding” with Moyes, which has its roots in suggestions that the higher intensity sessions, in which Moyes is heavily involved, do not suit him. “There is mutual respect between us and the work environment is actually good,” Van Persie said. “He really wants things to work here at Manchester United and I want the same, just like the other players. We’re all working hard to make this work.” Van Persie does not have an exit clause allowing him to leave if United fail to qualify for the Champions League.
Moyes is likely to start with Van Persie against Brendan Rodgers’ second-placed Liverpool side, who could go 14 points clear of United with a win at Old Trafford. United have looked more balanced and fluid with Danny Welbeck operating ahead of Wayne Rooney, rather than Van Persie – who has complained that Rooney has been occupying his “spaces” on the field of play. Though keeping the Dutchman on the bench would be a fair reflection of his struggles to replicate last season’s form, the controversy that would create would be unwelcome on such a critical weekend for the Premier League champions.
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