Arsene Wenger has defended the performances of Robin Van Persie at Euro 2012, claiming he was the best striker in the tournament despite the Dutchman finding the net just once in three games.
The Netherlands endured a torrid tournament, exiting at the group stage after defeats in all three of their games against Denmark, Germany and Portugal.
The Dutch campaign was beset by problems and rumours of disharmony in the camp, while selection issues dominated the World Cup finalist's agenda throughout the tournament.
Tottenham’s Rafael Van der Vaart appeared unhappy to have been dropped for the Netherland’s first two games, while Wesley Sneijder and Nigel de Jong were also said to be aggrieved at manager Bert Van Marwijk’s tactical approach.
One of the main selection dilemmas for Van Marwijk proved to be who would lead the attack between Van Persie and Klass-Jan Huntelaar, both of whom enjoyed excellent seasons with their respective clubs.
Van Persie was given the nod for the games against Denmark and Germany, scoring in the latter, while he was joined in attack by Huntelaaar in their final, must-win match against Portugal, which they lost 2-1.
Both players had been tipped to shine at Euro 2012 but neither covered themselves in glory, with Van Persie looking particularly tentative despite being the Premier League’s leading scorer last term.
However Wenger has leapt to the defence of his striker, claiming that the 28-year-old actually had an excellent tournament.
"Robin deserves more credit than he gets in the Netherlands," the Frenchman said. "Robin van Persie was the best striker during the tournament. He's much better than strikers from other countries and he's also better than [Klaas-Jan] Huntelaar."
He added: "Van Persie makes sure that a team plays football. I've analysed his performances and if you watch really closely, you will see that he made some brilliant moves and runs. At crucial stages he didn't get the ball.
"On the times he did not score with the chances he had can be put down to fatigue. But he's the perfect striker.
"If you want to reach a really high level as a team, you must pick Van Persie. He's an example for every striker. He's an exceptional football player and more than just a striker.
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