Arsene Wenger was full of praise for his captain after Robin van Persie’s two goals secured a much needed win for the Gunners yesterday.
The Dutchman brought his tally for 2011 to 29 Arsenal goals (+ 5 for Holland) and the manager recognised both his goalscoring skill and his contribution since taking over as captain from Cesc Fabregas.
“Many people question his leadership qualities but I believe he is completely committed for the cause on a daily basis”, said Wenger. “What’s even more important is that he does the job on the football pitch. We are all here to see special football players and he is a special football player.
“I think you have to analyse the game a little bit to see how important he is. The first goal was a good display of the team and the second chance he made the difference just because of his skill, which was exceptional”.
The issue of his contract remains yet the manager has no doubts about his commitment to the cause. “It depends what you call commitment. For me commitment is not about how long you are at a club”, he said.
“As long as you are at a club you will give 100 per cent until the last day of your contract. That for me is what you call commitment. The length of a contract is completely different. For me you have players who have ten-year contracts who don’t give full commitment, and for me it is not about the length of a contract. He knows that we are ready to talk”.
For his part van Persie was saying nothing about a new deal, but said, “I am committed to Arsenal and that’s how it is. I can see how frustrating it is from the fans’ point of view but I am committed. This is my eighth year here and if you can say about one player that he is committed, it’s me”.
As long as he keeps scoring goals, nobody can doubt that, and if the team can drag itself back into the area of the league it belongs, then some canny January purchases and a run of form might just convince the Dutchman to put pen to paper.