Robin van Persie has been set the ultimate challenge by Sir Alex Ferguson – become the new Eric Cantona.
“I think he is what we have needed for the last couple of years. He’s got maturity to his game now – an authority, timing and understanding of the game – and I think we will benefit for the next four years and beyond.”
Adding: “We have had several players who have the sort of catalyst, starting with Cantona. I don’t think we’re short of all that, I think we were still capable of winning the title without Robin, but give us a sort of certainty for the future.”
Van Persie arrives at United after his best season in English football, winning the PFA player of the year after scoring 30 goals in 38 Premier League games – making his league total in an Arsenal shirt 96 in 194.
And Ferguson is more than aware of this fact, his Cantona comparisons not stopping at the hopes of the Dutchman being this season’s catalyst. He continued:
“He can play, score, he’s quick, he’s a different physical speciment to the players we have. Also, you always learn from great player. If you look at what Cantona did, he was a tremendous teacher for the young players and I think Danny Wellbeck will welcome that.”
Cantona is something of a legend at Old Trafford, going down in history as one of their greatest players. He spent five years at the club, signing from Leeds in 1992. In a total of 185 games he scored 82 goals but his contribution was felt not just on the pitch but off it as well.
The 29-year-old former Arsenal captain is set to start this new leg of his career against Everton at Goodinson Park on Monday in United’s first game of the new campaign.
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