Robin van Persie explains why he rejected Man Utd role and sends message to Erik ten Hag



The former Man Utd striker has sent a strong message to the recently-appointed Red Devils’ head coach as he prepares to take charge of his first season at Old Trafford having replaced Ralf Rangnick at the helm

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Erik ten Hag: No ‘risk’ to come to Manchester United

Robin van Persie has told Erik ten Hag he will not find a better club to manage than Manchester United.

Ten Hag wanted former United striker van Persie to be his assistant, but the 38-year-old turned down the chance to return to Old Trafford. Before ten Hag turned to Mitchell van der Gaag and Steve McClaren, both now part of his United coaching staff, van Persie was his first choice.

But Van Persie decided to stay in his role as coach to the first-team and youth set-up at Feyenoord, where his 15-year-old son Shaqueel plays. Although the chance to return to Old Trafford came too soon for van Persie, he told Dutch compatriot ten Hag he made the right choice in taking over at United.

“The respect of the fans is enormous,” said van Persie. “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, recognized 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.

Robin van Persie turned down the chance to return to Man Utd


Getty Images)

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“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. ”

Van Persie, whose 30 goals in the 2012-13 season landed United’s last league title under Sir Alex Ferguson, wants to finish his UEFA coaching badges and obtain his Pro License before taking the next step in his post-playing career. Family commitments also played a huge part in his decision not to take up ten Hag’s offer, with van Persie’s son’s football career flourishing and his daughter Dina excelling at horse-riding.

“My son and daughter are important right now,” Van Persie told Life After Football. “The fact that they have both found their passion is great. A hobby is nice, but you hope that they really find a passion.

Erik ten Hag has taken over at Man Utd but was not able to tempt Van Persie to join his coaching staff


Manchester United via Getty Images)

“Dina succeeded 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. ”

After moving his family from London to Manchester and Istanbul during his playing career, Van Persie decided a period of stability was required.

“In London, when I played at Arsenal, we moved five times,” said van Persie. “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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