Van Persie: Adebayor Arsenal exit helped me become the striker I am today
11:55 03 April 2012
Robin van Persie has expressed his desire to leave Arsenal. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal captain sees exit of former strike partner as turning point in his career
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie claims the departure of Emmanuel Adebayor helped him grow as a goalscorer.
The Togolese front man left the Gunners for Manchester City in 2009, leaving the Dutchman as Arsene Wengers main goalscoring threat.
That move has certainly worked and after fighting back from major injuries, Van Persie has scored 54 goals since the beginning of last year.
"I was hoping to play as a second striker... I never thought I would end up as a main striker," Van Persie told Arsenal Player. "We only tried it [at Arsenal] when Adebayor went to Manchester City.
"The boss didnt buy anyone else because he was convinced I could do it, but I wasn't even convinced I could do it. I had not really played there that much, and I hadnt 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, dont 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 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 [league] games I didnt score, I was making assists and playing well, but I didnt score and I thought, 'I am a main striker now, I need to score' and the boss said, 'I dont 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's contract expires at the end of next season although talks between the club and player over a new deal are expected to take place in the summer.