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Friday, 14 March 2014
We need to talk about Robin
First, an admission. This is ANOTHER
Man United blog. Necessary evils and all that.
So, Robin van Persie has announced he has no problems with
Manchester United manager David Moyes. Which raises one important question: How
on earth did someone get a gun into an interview with Robin and use it to force
him to say such ridiculous things?
Van Persie has gone through this season with all the
enthusiasm of a stoned man running a marathon. Is he trying? Of course. Does he
rate David Moyes? I don’t think so. How can he? Moyes is good manager and one who is worth persevering with, but will a world-class player like van Persie appreciate being told what to do by a man who has won diddly-squat?
United’s whole season has been a bit like the Russian Police Choir,
who memorably covered ‘Get Lucky’ at the Winter Olympics. In other words, it’s
been entertaining, well-rehearsed and you can see what they’re trying to do. Unfortunately, like with that example of musical excellence, only a few of the protagonists look interested, and the quality
is actually rather poor. Therefore, you get a collection of men trying to
re-create a classic; searching for a much better version of what they’re able to achieve. However, like that choir, I can’t stop watching them.
Van Persie has even scored 14 goals this season, a great return for a man who
has been injured for vast chunks of the campaign, and for one playing in a struggling team.
However, it’s his attitude which has concerned many, as well as a slight decline
in his overall play. Of course, these are small details, but in a time where
the team has as much consistency as lumpy custard, it is far more recognisable.
In many ways, as a United fan, I wouldn’t be too upset to
see him go. He left Arsenal in acrimonious circumstances and left to join a
United team with a lot of potential and a manager in Alex Ferguson who looked
set to be around for years to come. Ferguson did not mean it of course, but
Robin would later be duped by Fergie's retirement. The Dutchman did more than most in securing a record 20th
English league title for United, so us fans owe him a lot of gratitude.
In addition, there have been times this season when United
have looked better without their talisman. Danny Welbeck may have all the composure
of a virgin during his ‘first time’ and probably struggles to finish his
dinner, let alone a football move, but he does help the team. His pace and work-rate allows him to stretch defences and helps the likes of Adnan Januzaj, Wayne Rooney and
Juan Mata find space. How do I know this? It happened against mighty West Brom,
that’s how. We beat West Brom, so we’re on the way up.
It may well be that van Persie is telling the truth and
wants to see out his career with United. It was the ‘little boy’ inside
him that made him join in the first place. However, little boys often beg their parents for something they are convinced they need, but soon get bored and dispose of the item all the same. If United are fearing a life after
van Persie, they need not. United have suffered greater problems in the last
few months, this would be merely another blow to recover from. Out of crisis
often comes opportunity.
In the meantime, van Persie can back up his words with
performances on the pitch. This week, he is likely to be called upon to help
United come back against Olympiakos in the Champions League and hopefully
inspire a surprise win at home to Liverpool in the Premier League. After
significant, late misses in the away games against those teams, this week would
be a good time to make amends.
Van Persie has already given United a lot. If he
wants to give us more, he has to start now. No one is questioning his talent or
goal-scoring, but at United, you are measured by more than just that.