Former Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie had the chance to rejoin the club this summer and work as part of the new coaching staff under Erik Ten Hag but ultimately turned down the opportunity in favour of remaining at current club Feyenoord, where he is currently a coach for the first-team as well as the Under-16 team.
Ten Hag wanted someone with the experience of having been at Old Trafford and the former striker fit the bill. Despite the interest, the deal ultimately did not materialise.
Van Persie has had to stay away from home for nearly his entire professional career which includes shifting houses, cities and even countries and at this stage in his life, he wanted to concentrate on matters close to his heart. His 15-year-old son Shaqueel has found his calling in football and he is currently a member of the U-16 team at Feyenoord, while daughter Dina loves horse-riding.
“My son and daughter are important right now,” the former Netherlands international told Life After Football. “The fact that they have both found their passion is great. A hobby is nice, but you hope that they really find a passion.
“Dina succeeded in doing that with horse riding, she’s totally into it, and Shaqueel has the same thing with soccer. My wife, Bouchra, is developing all her talents with our projects and that’s great to see. We’re enjoying ourselves together.”
The former Arsenal man added the family as a whole wanted some stability and a chance to enjoy life.
— Robin van Persie (@Persie_Official) May 31, 2022
“In London, when I played at Arsenal, we moved five times. We also lived in Manchester and Istanbul. All in all, we were away for almost fourteen years. But then we thought ‘what’s good for the kids now?’ and felt a little stability would be nice.”
Even though the 2012-13 Premier League champion turned down the chance to join new United boss Ten Hag’s backroom staff, he was full of praise for the English giants and the supporters.
“The respect of the fans is enormous. When I came back a few years later with Fenerbahce, after winning the league with United and Sir Alex, I still got a gigantic appreciation from the people.
“Dick Advocaat, our coach at Fenerbahce, recognised that. He experienced it at Rangers in Scotland. He said to me ‘For the rest of your life you will be appreciated here [at United]’ and he was absolutely right.”
The former Ajax coach ultimately turned to his assistant back in Holland, Mitchell van der Gaag, and he will be joined by former United number two Steve McClaren to assist him during his reign at Old Trafford.
Meanwhile United fans on Twitter were disappointed after Van Persie signed a two-year extension with his boyhood club. However, many also hoped that the fan favourite would return in a coaching capacity later in his career after gaining more experience back home.