Is it possible to begin your career at the age of 29? Robin van Persie will be 30 next season, but despite playing for nearly a decade with a top club in the Premier League, he has only one league championship to show for it, finally earning his due after leaving Arsenal for Manchester United.
Seven players are part of a Premier League winning side for the first time in their career – Robin van Persie, Phil Jones, Ashely Young, Tom Cleverley and David de Gea, while Shinji Kagawa has won two Bundesliga titles with Dortmund and Welbeck has played a very small role in past success.
Van Persie is the oldest of the bunch that gets to have his first taste of real success. He arrived at Arsenal in 2004, when the decline began. He did win an FA Cup that season, but only after Theirry Henry left did he finally start becoming an important part of the promising team that never fulfilled its promise. Van Persie was in the same situation as well – a great talent, but injuries and inconsistency kept hindering his career, until getting everything to come together in 2011.
Now, he’s the reason some have called Manchester United a one-man team. He’ll be the top scorer in the league for the second straight season (so far with 25 goals in 35 matches), and with a good chance of being the Football Writers’ player of the year for a second consecutive season as well.
He’s at his best, there’s no doubt, finally feeling he’s playing in the right place, for a team that not only accommodates his talent appropriately, but is also promising to not let one league title be of any kind of satisfaction. Being a part of Manchester United is about never being satisfied with what you have, and never becoming greater than the team and Alex Ferguson. First two rules to live by, and if you have the talent, you’ll be fine.
Van Persie now wants more – Championships, and going further in the Champions League, remembering he was once part of a team that reached the final in 2006. He knows he needs a better group of players around him to make it that far. He knows he needs to be as good as he was over the last two years to make it that far. He’s hoping that he still has that “best year of his career” left in him, or the euphoria of his first season with Manchester United won’t last very long.