There’s not much more Robin Van Persie can do to endear him to United fans when it comes to his conduct both on and off the pitch.
Let’s face it whenever we read an RVP quote it’s yet another reason to love the Dutchman as he praises his team mates, coaching staff and the fans or comments on how he’s working hard to improve. Then there’s the actual business of turning up in a Red shirt and earning his wages, which it’s pretty safe to say has been nothing short of phenomenal these past ten months or so. It’s easy to forget that some of us- yes ‘us’ as I was one of them didn’t even think we needed last season’s top scorer- thank heavens Sir Alex Ferguson knows a lifetime more about football than I do.
Van Persie reminds me of the player I WANT to be: super fit, non-stop effort, class on the ball and gifted beyond belief – yet even more impressive, supremely happy to be playing for the world’s biggest football club. If anyone of us was handed a contract at United, we’d probably make the same statements we hear from RVP about how glad we are to be at the club before heaping praise on all those around us. United’s new talisman is the embodiment of all that is good about the game and for that exact reason it may be time to reward him with the greatest honour- captaining the team.
Yes, I do love Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, both are sterling servants who deserve credit for being a huge part of the most successful period in our club’s long history, but neither of them have quite nailed the captaincy past the point of no return. Vidic has had his injury problems and it’s worth remembering that for United’s greatest season, he wasn’t even third choice for the armband as Rio Ferdinand and occasionally Ryan Giggs had that honour bestowed upon them while Gary Neville technically remained skipper. Vidic was chosen more due to the infrequency of Ferdinand’s appearances, which in turn leads me to Patrice Evra. The former French skipper has found himself wearing the armband more often than most of late due to the absence of Vidic more so than being the natural choice. Don’t get me wrong I’m not in the “we hate Evra” club but don’t see a whole host of reasons why the captaincy is his other than being an experienced player who’s often in the starting line up.
Both Evra and Vidic may find themselves playing less frequently next season, should the likes of Phil Jones, Jonny Evans, Fabio or even Alexander Buttner be given more games, but RVP – barring injury- should be a mainstay as he was in the previous campaign.
Rather than play “pass the armband” why not give it to RVP as not only will be play more games, he’s also tailor made for it. He skippered his last club, skippers his country, is always the most gifted player on the pitch- other than possibly the occasional Champions League game when we’re playing Madrid- and isn’t afraid to fight his corner if he thinks he’s getting bullied. Oh and his conduct off the field is exactly what you want from a captain, always “towing the party line” without degenerating into some form of sycophancy.
Seeing Van Persie lead out the side next season wouldn’t be a slap in the face for any other longer-serving players, it would be an acknowledgement that our talisman is being given the “official” role of leader to go with his unofficial one. Rio and Vidic will still command the defence, Wayne Rooney will still berate the referee and Patrice Evra will still conduct chats with the coaching staff as he drinks his water, but RVP will be the one they all turn to. The added honour may even see the Dutchman raise his standards to something even more awe-inspiring- although that may be complete wishful thinking as it’s almost impossible. Handing the captaincy to Van Persie would help usher in the Moyes era on a popular note and may just impress the fans enough to be that little bit more patient.
Is this a bad idea? Too soon to be giving a player the armband after one season? Or is it a good way of rewarding a player who’s talents and conduct demand it? Answers in a semi orderly fashion below please: