Wenger put faith in Dutch star to be hitman
ROBIN VAN PERSIE has revealed he only became a world-class goalscorer after Arsenal flogged Emmanuel Adebayor.
The Dutchman has found the back of the net an incredible 54 times since January 2011.
That has made him one of the top marksmen on the planet – and Arsene Wenger’s side would be nowhere without him.
But Van Persie admitted he had previously been happy just playing second fiddle to another forward.
And it was only when Manchester City bought Adebayor in 2009 that he changed his outlook.
He said: “I never thought I would end up as a main striker. We only tried it when Adebayor went.
“The boss didn’t buy anyone else because he was convinced I could do it, but I wasn’t even convinced I could do it myself.
“I had not really played there that much and I hadn’t thought about it much before.
“The boss said, ‘ I think you can do it, give it a go and see where it ends. Play your normal game, don’t go out there to score, go out there to enjoy yourself and help the team’.
“I had a go and then in pre-season we had a game against Inter Milan and I scored a good goal and played well – and he told me after the game, ‘We will see how it goes, I am 100 per cent sure it will work’.
“Then in my first five or six games I didn’t score. I was making assists and playing well, but I didn’t score and I thought, ‘I am a main striker now, I need to score’.
“But the boss said, ‘I don’t mind that, as long as you play well for the team, giving assists, the goals will come’.
“When I scored my first goal I then scored seven in seven, with seven assists, so that was quite good.
“That was my first step to being a main striker.”
Van Persie has never had to worry much about being dropped.
Wenger gave games to Nicklas Bendtner, Andrey Arshavin and Carlos Vela before packing them off on loan.
And South Korea skipper Ju-young Park and Moroccan flop Marouane Chamakh barely get a look-in.