Hit man Robin strikes again! Van Persie picks up prestigious PFA award
23:06 GMT, 22 April 2012
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has been named the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year.
The 28-year-old Holland international has scored 27 Barclays Premier League goals this season for the Gunners – his most fruitful campaign for the club – and was humbled to be recognised by his peers.
'If other people are saying it, it is special, but it is even more special if your opponents are saying it,' he said.
Recognition: Robin van Persie (centre) has been hailed as the player of the year
'It is very special because you are
playing against them week in week out and every single player does
everything to win and in the end if they make up their minds that I'm
the best player it is a big honour.'
Van Persie may have picked up the top
individual honour but he was quick to point out it would not have been
possible without his Arsenal team-mates.
'Without them I could not have achieved it,' he said.
'For example Theo Walcott, he has given me more than 12 assists and I do really appreciate that.'
Winner: Van Persie has had an excellent year
Van Persie was utilised mainly as a
second striker, and occasionally out on the wing, in the early stages of
his Gunners career after being signed by manager Arsene Wenger from
Feyenoord in 2004.
But he has flourished since switching
to the centre-forward role – despite initially not having been convinced
he could make the transition.
He said: 'Now I am (confident). To be
fair, when I first went there I wasn't really as confident and I wasn't
really sure I could do it. It took a bit of time but after a couple of
months slowly realised I could do a good job there.'
Former Arsenal forward Alan Smith believes the Gunners' skipper has done a great job in changing the way he plays.
Tribute: Van Persie hailed the contribution of Theo Walcott
'He is a class act and I can't see any reason why he can't score many more goals, if Arsenal can keep hold of him of course – which they really need to do,' he said.
'I think if you're playing as an out-an-out striker rather than a classic number 10, which is what he is naturally, you are going to get into more goalscoring opportunities but that is the impressive thing from Robin's point of view the way he has adapted his game.
'The runs he has learned to make on the back of defenders is amazing really, he plays like an orthodox striker now.'
PFA DIVISIONAL TEAMS OF THE YEAR
Premier League: Hart (Man City), Walker (Spurs), Kompany (Man City), Coloccini (Newcastle), Baines (Everton), Silva (Man City), Parker (Spurs), Y Toure (Man City), Bale (Spurs), Van Persie (Arsenal), Rooney (Man Utd).
Championship: Davis (Southampton), Clyne (Crystal Palace), Tomkins (West Ham), Davies (Birmingham), Harte (Reading); Lallana (Southampton), Whittingham (Cardiff), Noble (West Ham), M Phillips (Blackpool); Lambert (Southampton), Jay Rodriguez (Burnley).
League One: Hamer (Charlton), Hunt (Huddersfield), Morrison (Charlton), Maguire (Sheff Utd), Wiggins (Charlton), Jackson (Charlton), Quinn (Sheff Utd), Gleeson (MK Dons), Potter (MK Dons), Rhodes (Huddersfield), Evans (Sheff Utd).
League Two: Olejnik (Torquay), Caddis (Swindon), McFadzean (Crawley), Sharps (Shrewsbury), Nicholson (Torquay), Ritchie (Swindon), Pack (Cheltenham), O'Kane (Torquay), Mansell (Torquay), McLeod (Barnet), Barnett (Crawley, now Peterborough).
1983: Born August 6 in Rotterdam. Plays for Excelsior Rotterdam and Feyenoord youth teams and capped by Holland at under-19 and under-21 level.
2002: January Signs three-and-a-half-year deal with Feyenoord. Drafted into the first-team squad because of injury shortages at the age of 18.
February 21: Features as a 57th-minute substitute in UEFA Cup fourth-round, first-leg clash against Rangers. Plays from the start in the 3-2 second leg win at home which booked his team's progress.
May 8: Plays in Feyenoord's 3-2 UEFA Cup final victory over Borussia Dortmund in Rotterdam.
Voted the Dutch PFA's Best Young Talent for 2001-02. Suffers a back injury which kept him in plaster over the summer of 2002 but was fit for the start of the new season.
2002-03: Ends the season with eight goals from 28 games as Feyenoord finish runners-up in the Dutch Cup. Played twice in the Champions League.
2004: January 20: Feyenoord reveal they have rejected a bid for Van Persie from Arsenal. Makes 32 appearances for Feyenoord, scoring six goals.
April 28: Arsenal reveal they have signed Van Persie on a long-term contract for an undisclosed fee.
August 8: Makes his debut as a substitute in the 3-1 FA Community Shield win over Manchester United.
October 27: Scores on his competitive debut, a 2-1 League Cup win over Manchester City.
2005: Feb 26: Publicly criticised by Arsene Wenger after being sent off for a rash tackle on Southampton's Graeme Le Saux.
June 4: Makes Holland debut in a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win against Romania.
November: Named Player of the Month after beginning the season with eight goals in eight starts.
2006: January 4: Signs new five-year contract with the club but two days later suffers a foot injury against Cardiff.
June: Played in all four of Holland's matches at the World Cup.
2007: January 21: Season ended by a broken foot suffered against Manchester United.
October: Begins life as Arsenal's main striker following Thierry Henry's departure with seven goals in 10 matches, but then suffers a knee injury on international duty, leaving him out for two months. He then suffers a series of minor injuries for the rest of the season.
2009: January 3: Captains Arsenal for the first time in the absence of Cesc Fabregas and Manuel Almunia.
July 8: After several months of talks and with his existing deal entering its final year, signs a new four-year contract.
November 14: After another strong start to the season, injures his ankle on international duty, ruling him out for five months.
2010: Misses two months at the start of the season with an ankle injury.
July 11: Plays in the World Cup final as Holland lose 1-0 to Spain.
2011: January 22: Scores his first career hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Wigan.
March 8: Sent off in the Champions League last-16 match against Barcelona, receiving a second yellow card for shooting one second after the referee had blown for offside, with the Dutchman insisting he could not hear amid a crowd of 95,000. Arsenal lost 4-3 on aggregate.
May 8: Scored against Stoke to make it a Premier League record eight straight away league games in which he had a goal.
August 11: Named Arsenal captain after the departure of Fabregas.
September 2: Scores four in Holland's record-breaking 11-0 win over San Marino.
September 24: Goal against Bolton takes his Arsenal tally to 100.
December 31: Scores in the 1-0 win over QPR to take his tally for the calendar year to 35, one short of Alan Shearer's Premier League record.
2012: April 22: Named PFA Player of the Year.