Robin van Persie’s playing career ended just over a year ago and the Dutchman has been putting his skills to work in front of the broadcasters cameras since.
The forward, who was 28 years old when he joined United, left Arsenal in controversial fashion in 2012 to join Sir Alex Ferguson’s side who had made it their quest to earn their Premier League crown back from their noisy neighbours.
Patrice Evra has often shared a rather funny anecdote about Van Persie’s first few training sessions at the club. ‘Welcome to a mans club,’ is what the left-back told the forward on arrival.
But if United snatching their bitter rivals captain from right under their nose wasn’t enough, Van Persie’s revealing left an even more sour taste in Arsenal supporters mouthes.
“I always listen to the little boy inside of me in these situations – when you have to make the harder decisions in life. What does he want? That boy was screaming for Man United,” he said on August 17th 2012.
It became one of the iconic first quotes of a Premier League signing and the all-time top Netherlands national team scorer has opened up on those brilliantly chosen words in the latest Official Manchester United Podcast.
“Maybe I could have chosen different words.” Van Persie said. “What I meant to say, from my point of view, was [about] when you have to make a difficult decision – and it was a very difficult decision if you add up everything because the last few months were very difficult for me and my family as well at home.”
“At one point, I told Shaqueel (Van Persie’s son), who was a fan of Wayne Rooney, I said: ‘Do you like the idea of me playing together with Rooney?’ He said: ‘Yeah, is he coming to Arsenal?’.
“I said: ‘No, no, no. We are going there.’ “
Van Persie also praised the high level of standard at United compared to the one at Arsenal. The mainstays of United’s successful first decade of this century were all still present at the club and making their mark in the Premier League.
“That’s a massive compliment of course.” he said on the suggestion that he raised standards at United. “If you can influence your team mates like that. If you can trigger them with your training sessions and with your games. But the funny thing is that Vidic, players like Scholes, Giggs, I saw them doing things I hadn’t seen before.
“So, I think we were triggering each other. On a daily basis, I saw Scholes giving passes I had never seen before. I was like: ‘How is it even possible that he sees it and then does it?’ That really triggered me.”
You can listen to the rest of the interview from Monday evening, by searching for UTD Podcast on any of your favourite podcast providers. You can find previous episodes, and exclusive video clips of them being recorded, on the official Manchester United app and website.