When Manchester United signed 29-year-old injury prone Robin van Persie for approximately £24 million, some eyebrows were raised. Many thought he was destined to be a crock at Old Trafford.
He certainly put those critics in their place when he didn’t miss a single Premier League game all season, scored 30 goals in all competitions and spearheaded United to the title. It was, by all accounts, an incredible debut season.
However, things haven’t quite worked out the same this season. From the start, he hasn’t looked fully fit and has struggled with niggling toe and groin injuries that ruled him out of a few games in November. Now, he has picked up a thigh strain that will see him spend the next four weeks on the sideline. What has happened?
Moyes’ training methods have come under scrutiny for their intensity prior to Van Persie’s thigh injury but they will now be firmly in the spotlight.
Of course, coincidences happen and Moyes’ training methods cannot be held solely to blame but equally so, I think it would be naive to assume that Van Persie’s injuries this year are solely down to previous history catching up on him. He showed last year that he can maintain fitness for a whole season but has struggled with Moyes’ training regime.
Sir Alex Ferguson managed Van Persie differently on the training ground because of his history of injuries and it paid dividends with his fitness and potency all year long but, by the sounds of it, Moyes has fallen foul to training him too hard.
Mark Lawrenson was very wide of the mark when he started rumours that Van Persie handed in a transfer request but given his injury issues, there is certainly grounds for frustration from the Dutchman.
There is an element of bad luck in this as well on Moyes’ part that Van Persie has had injury troubles but after these four weeks are over, Moyes might have to reconsider how he handles Van Persie because United will need him in 2014.