Rio Ferdinand’s book ‘#2Sides’ was released this week and one small part was dedicated to current Manchester United striker Robin van Persie and the change in the Dutchman’s mindset since leaving rivals Arsenal for Old Trafford in August 2012.
Van Persie bagged his 50th goal for the club against West Ham two weeks ago and was influential in Sir Alex Ferguson’s final Premier League success, immediately making himself a hero in a stadium where he was previously a bitter rival.
Having spent so long with Arsenal without silverware, Van Persie explained to Ferdinand how the necessity to win rather than the desire to was a major change for him when he arrived at Old Trafford.
“Robin loved the winning mindset that Fergie had created,” Ferdinand writes in his new book.
“He told me that at Arsenal you wanted to win, but at United you had to win.”
Van Persie won the FA Cup in his first season with Arsenal but wouldn’t win another trophy before leaving for Old Trafford two years ago.
Ferdinand previously suggested Ferguson’s retirement hit the Dutchman harder than anyone and Van Persie himself echoed these sentiments when speaking about the moment the former manager announced his decision.
“I had to gasp for breath and I shook my head,” said Van Persie.
“Had he really said what I thought he’d said? The room fell deathly quiet and then everyone became emotional.
“Sir Alex then had a long talk with the squad. I found it a very special speech and felt privileged to have witnessed it.”
Arsenal fans won’t want to hear it but Van Persie is spot on in that United didn’t want to win under Sir Alex, they needed to, something which Arsenal struggled to do for so long until breaking the duck last season.