Van Persie inspired by Henry's pep talk

Robin Van Persie is grateful to his former Arsenal team-mate Thierry Henry for giving him some valuable advice before the European Championship.

Football News: Henry, Van Persie, Arsenal

By staff

Van Persie was in red hot form for Arsenal last season, finishing as the Premier League's top scorer with 30 goals and playing a crucial part in helping the Gunners secure qualifications to next season's Champions League.

The Dutchman hopes to replicate this form for his country at the upcoming Euros and was further inspired to lead the Netherlands to the trophy after a talk with veteran striker Henry.

Speaking to the Mirror, Van Persie revealed: "Thierry told me things about the big matches you face as a player. “I have played 60 games this ­season; I have not missed a single league match for Arsenal.

"Now we have been playing all kind of friendly matches with the Dutch team. But Thierry says many of those games are about doing your job and keeping good form.

"It comes down to the big ­moments where I have to decide big games.

"I agree with him and it is good to hear. For me, the next big moment is when I face Denmark in Ukraine."

"I used to get worked up about big tournaments, but not anymore," added Van Persie. "I have the ­experience from my years at ­Arsenal and I can look back on a great season with my club."

The 28-year-old, who suffered a litany of injuries in the early stages of his career, believes the days of spending majority of the season on the treatment table is a thing of the past, having ran more miles last season than any Premier League player.

He said: "Stats don't tell you the whole story, but it does prove my fitness at Arsenal and in the ­Premier League. I feel fitter than ever before. I don't need time to recover either after a match."

However, despite Van Persie's impressive portfolio, debate still rages as to whether he should play in the striker role ahead of Bundesliga top scorer Klaas Jan Huntelaar.

Huntelaar, who enjoyed a stellar season with Schalke, is adamant that he deserves to be in the first team on the basis of his goalscoring exploits in Germany.

"What more do I need to do to convince the manager that I am the only striker for the Dutch team," Huntelaar told the Mirror.

"I have scored so many goals in Germany, which is a big league.

"And I have a great goal scoring rate for Holland. I am sharper in the box than anyone. The fact that I did not start in the last warm up match was crazy.

"Angry? That is not even the word for it, to describe how I feel. I would like to hear from the coach himself why he did not start with me."

Van Persie acknowledges that his Dutch compatriot has a valid case and believes that both of them are deserving of playing in the striker role.

He said: "Huntelaar is a real striker. He has developed into a real goal scorer.

"But I have proven at Arsenal ­during the last eight years that I can play well in the role of striker too. I think we are both very good number nines."

However, Van Persie played down suggestions that this issue would cause him to lose concentration and distract him from the Euros.

"I know there is a national ­discussion going on. But I don't worry about anything.

"I feel better and stronger than I have ever done thanks to this season at Arsenal.

"I have run more miles than ­anyone, I have scored more goals than anyone in the Premier League and I have trained more hours than any player at Arsenal.

"I go into this tournament with no worries."

Huntelaar has an impressive goal scoring record for the national side, scoring 31 goals in 52 matches, while Van Persie's has scored 26 goals in 64 international games.

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