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.

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