Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has defended Robin van Persie’s performances at Euro 2012, claiming the blame falls at the feet of his Holland teammates.
The Gunners captain was bearing the brunt of criticism being doled out in the Netherlands media following their group stage exit following three losses, but Wenger believes Van Persie was the best striker on show in Poland and Ukraine.
The 28-year-old missed a number of good chances in the games against Denmark, Germany and Portugal, chances he of the like he was burying all season for the Emirates Stadium club.
Wenger felt there would have been more chances for him to score if his teammates had been able to see the space created by Van Persie and pass him ball.
“Robin deserves more credit than he gets in Holland,” he told De Telegraaf.
“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.
“You’ve got two types of strikers. You’ve got the ‘striker-striker’, who only plays in the box and waits for the ball. And you’ve got more footballing strikers, like Van Persie, and in the even more extreme Karim Benzema at France.
“Van Persie makes sure that a team plays football all the time. I’ve analysed his performances during the group phase. If you watch really closely, you will see that he made some brilliant technical actions and runs.
“On crucial moments he didn’t get the ball. That he couldn’t score at a few moments had to do with tiredness. But still he’s the most perfect striker. “
The French tactician even had some words of advice for Holland coach Bert van Marwijk and how he should have gone about using Van Persie in his team.
“If you want to reach a really high level as a team, you must line up Van Persie. He’s an example for every striker,” he added.
“He’s an exceptional football player and more than just a striker.
“I understand that he wants to prove himself with the Oranje as he does at Arsenal. The Dutch fans ask me why he scores so much for Arsenal and not for Oranje. That has to do with everything around him.”
Van Persie now has to make a decision over whether he wants to sign a new contract at Arsenal, as his current deal has just a year left.
Arsenal have been busy in the transfer market this summer, already finalising deals for Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud – the two strikers, internationals for Germany and France respectively, will become Gunners once the transfer window opens on July 1.
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