Former Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has explained why he rejected Erik ten Hag’s offer to return to the club as part of his backroom staff.
As Stretty News revealed in April, Ten Hag considered appointing Van Persie as one of his coaching assistants at Old Trafford, but it turns out he opted for Steve McClaren and Mitchell van der Gaag instead.
It would’ve been nice to have Van Persie back at the club, as someone who holds the highest of standards. He scored 58 goals in 105 appearances for United and helped Sir Alex Ferguson’s side win the club’s 20th league title following a controversial transfer from rivals Arsenal.
Van Persie has now confirmed his reasons for rebuffing United’s approach.
The 38-year-old’s son Shaqueel is currently playing in the Feyenoord academy, while his daughter is a keen horse-rider.
“My son and daughter are important right now,” Van Persie said in the latest issue of Life After Football magazine. “The fact that they both found their passion is great. A hobby is nice, but you hope that they really find a passion.
“Dina succeeding in doing that with horse riding, she’s totally into it, and Shaqueel has the same thing with soccer. My wife, Bouchra, is developing all her talents with our projects and that’s great to see. We’re enjoying ourselves together.
“In London, when I played at Arsenal, we moved five times. We also lived in Manchester and Istanbul. All in all, we were away for almost fourteen years.
“But then we thought, ‘what’s good for the kids now?’, and felt a little stability would be nice.”
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Talking more about his time in England, Van Persie added: “The respect of the fans is enormous. When I came back a few years later with Fenerbahce, after winning the league with United and Sir Alex, I still got a gigantic appreciation from the people.
“Dick Advocaat, our coach at Fenerbahce, recognised that. He experienced it at Rangers in Scotland. He said to me, “For the rest of your life you will be appreciated here [at United] and he was absolutely right.
“England is a great country to live in. The people are warm and friendly. It’s a 40-minute flight from Rotterdam, but you end up in a totally different world. A very beautiful world.
“The football also suited me enormously. I continue to think it’s the most beautiful league in the world. The fields are like green pool tables. All the stadiums are big and always full – and England absolutely breathes soccer.”