Robin van Persie reveals he 'wasn't even convinced' by main striker role at Arsenal

 

Robin van Persie has admitted he was far from confident he could play as a main striker, but now believes he can become even more lethal in front of goal.

Arsenal captain Van Persie has developed into one of the most feared centre-forwards in the world, and looks set to breach the 40-goal barrier for club and country this season.

The Holland star, 28, only began spearheading the Gunners attack almost three years ago after manager Arsene Wenger sold Emmanuel Adebayor to Manchester City.

Before then, Van Persie played almost exclusively as a second striker, the kind of role fellow Dutchman Dennis Bergkamp made his own at the club.

"That was the idea from day one," Van Persie told Arsenal Player.

"I never really thought that I would end up as a main striker.

"I actually never played there before - I did it a couple of times at youth level but it was nothing really special.

"We only tried it when Adebayor went.

"The boss didn't buy someone else because he was convinced I could do it.

"I wasn't even convinced about it. I wasn't so sure, because I didn't really play there so much.

"Then, in pre-season, we had a game against Inter Milan. I scored a good goal, played well and he told me after the game, 'You see? It will work'.

"That was the first step to being a main striker.

"Sometimes, you just question yourself, if you're good enough at it. Those answers came.

"I have been for a while now convinced that I actually can play as a main striker. I just didn't know, and now I believe.

"Let's see where it ends. Let's see how far I can push myself, see where my maximum lies."

Van Persie's exploits have made him the heavy favourite to be crowned PFA Player of the Year on Sunday.

They have also made him one of the most coveted strikers in the world, with City, Barcelona and Real Madrid all linked with him.

Van Persie has only one year left on his Arsenal contract and has declared he will not make a decision about his long-term future until the end of the season.

Gunners fans will understandably be concerned at his presence at Barcelona's team hotel last night ahead of the Catalans' Champions League clash with Chelsea.

He was spotted talking to international team-mate Ibrahim Afellay and may also have been catching up with former Gunners team-mate Cesc Fabregas.

Van Persie extending his Arsenal contract may depend on how ambitious they are in the transfer market this summer, with the impending arrival of Germany star Lukas Podolski certainly a step in the right direction.

Wenger will be hoping Podolski settles as quickly as summer signing Andre Santos.

Brazilian left-back Santos has revealed how fellow new boy Mikel Arteta has done all he can to help him fit in.

"Mikel Arteta is Spanish and our languages are quite similar so he is helping me the most," Santos said.

"He is always giving me instructions about the Premier League. He played for Everton for a long time and arrived at Arsenal at the same time as I did so he helped me settle.

"We're always messing around in the changing room, on the pitch during the warm up.

"He's always saying something to make me laugh or calling me nicknames but it's always good-spirited, with no harm.

"We work together every day and need these moments of distraction.

"Us players always go out for dinner and social events together.

"I'm always doing something with Thomas Vermaelen, Bacary Sagna, Robin van Persie, Mikel, Yossi Benayoun, Ignasi Miquel and others.

"This link between us off the pitch is very strong and it benefits the team on the pitch."

PA

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?