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Opinion: Oh Robin van Persie – How the mighty fall

Robin van Persie is the man responsible for the last Barclays Premier League title to don the red and white ribbons. He is the man who fired us there almost single-handedly. He is the man who dragged us through the UEFA Champions League fixture against Olympiakos. He is now the man who needs to bow out a legend, and leave while the going is good. Much has been made (outside of the media it appears) about his decline. Some go as far back as last season as a beacon for his loss of interest and form (including myself).

But the benefit of the doubt was allowed, and his woeful showings in a United shirt were placed largely down to the fact David Moyes turned us into something of a laughing-stock. In fact, under Louis van Gaal, this was to be the season van Persie once more fires us to comparative glory (a top four finish in most people’s eyes). How wrong we all were. After an impressive World Cup campaign, four goals in all whilst out in Brazil and a third place finish to match, expectations grew around the striker to deliver for club as well as country.

These expectations were to be well and truly let down. Van Gaal was expected to be the man to bring out the best in him. A compatriot, and a fan of his as a player, the system employed by Van Gaal was seemingly based around giving van Persie a partner, allowing him to play on the shoulder and craft the sort of chances he scores for fun on a weekly basis and reducing the workload and pressure built up after a season of despair. Unfortunately what the system doesn’t cater for is desire, and Van Persie has none.

A while back on Monday Night Football, Gary Neville analysed Van Persie and the runs he was making that weren’t being spotted by team mates. Without realising it, Neville gave one of the chronic underperformers another excuse on which to fall back upon. It gave the manager more excuses to continue fielding him over Radamel Falcao (when fit) or to help continue the development of James Wilson (by taking a gamble). As for every run made and not spotted, there is 10/15 minutes of slowly ambling round the pitch considering refreshment options and daydreaming to match. The fact is he just doesn’t try any more.

He has won his trophy and now doesn’t need to bother. There are others that will. Others that can. It would be unfair to skip over the festive period where goals started to flow. But even last season there was a patch of good form somewhere in there. And all things aside, he is still a World Class striker, so is bound to score at some point. And it would also be unfair to seem ungrateful for the one trophy he did help us win, past glories will always be appreciated.

The issue is that we can no longer look to the past, as the situation has become desperate now and we need someone to step forward and be the driving force, and the man you would normally turn to just doesn’t care. Robin van Persie is not passed it. What Robin van Persie is, is uninterested and past caring. What he needs is a new challenge that will ultimately end in success. That is what he is driven by and what keeps him interested. Unfortunately, this is not something he can find too soon at United.

Maybe a run in the Cup will reignite him, but maybe that is a risk we cannot afford to take, there is no guarantee as we lie that we will win the FA Cup regardless of how seriously it is being taken. Van Gaal needs to have something about him now and drop the misfiring Dutchman, as failure to do so could be fatal. Robin van Persie has fallen, and fallen a long way. Thank you for the memories, but all good things come to an end some time.

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