After a long, gruelling World Cup campaign and an injury-hit season, Robin van Persie should not take part in Manchester United’s pre-season tour if he is to rediscover his best form in red next season.
Louis van Gaal clearly knows how to get the best from his fellow countryman. He made him Holland’s captain eight months after dropping him from the team altogether in 2012. In 2014, he made the 30-year-old the focal point of a Holland team top-heavy with attacking talent and was not afraid to replace him throughout the World Cup if he needed to.
Van Persie played 548 minutes in six of Holland’s seven World Cup games. A reinvigorated figure, he was enjoying his football again under the stewardship of van Gaal, scoring sensational goals and inspiring him team to victory and his performances have United fans excited for the start of the season.
However, with just four days to go until United go on pre-season tour, Van Gaal must resist the temptation to include his talismanic, go-to forward in any of the fixtures in the United States.
Towards the end of many World Cup matches, he looked to be running on empty and despite proclaiming that he was becoming ‘stronger every match’, the Dutchman needs a real break.
The former Arsenal captain played in all 38 league games in the 2012/13 season, scoring 26 goals to propel United to a record 20th league title. Under David Moyes his influence faded. He often looked a forlorn figure, he questioned the manager’s decisions and injury once again plagued his season as it had done during his days in London, limiting him to just 21 Premier League appearances.
Although United will have fewer fixtures to juggle this season due to a lack of European football, Van Persie’s preparation for 2014/15 should involve minimal game time before United’s friendly against Valencia at Old Trafford on August 12.