Friday, February 26, 2010

When Will Van Persie Return??

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger does not expect Robin van Persie to return to action by early April, as predicted by Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk.

Van Persie is recovering from surgery on an ankle ligament problem sustained playing for his country last November.

Van Marwijk claimed this week the 26-year-old Dutch striker could be fit for Arsenal by "the beginning of April".

However, Wenger said: "I haven't seen Robin because he is in Holland at the moment but that looks too early to me."

Van Marwijk had arrived at his prognosis after speaking to Van Persie on the phone.

"I hope that he will play at the beginning of April and he feels this may be possible," he said.

"You can hear it in his voice that he feels he is improving."

But Wenger disagreed, stating: "I would love to agree with him [Van Marwijk]. But no, I believe he is a bit optimistic thinking that."

Van Persie had been in fine form for club and country before he suffered the ligament damage 10 minutes into his country's international friendly with Italy on 14 November.

Wenger had given the player a new role as central striker in a front three and the move was paying dividends for the north London side.

The striker, who joined Arsenal from Feyenoord in 2004, had scored eight goals in 16 matches in all competitions.

But his season was cut short in Italy and after initial placenta fluid treatment with specialist Mariana Kovacevic, he went on to have ankle surgery in Amsterdam.

Last week, Wenger pencilled in the end of April as the probable return date for his star striker - provided his rehabilitation continued to go to plan.

"If you ask me is it the beginning of April, I would say categorically no because he has not started any real fitness work yet," Wenger told Arsenal's website.

Arsenal physios are set to travel to the Netherlands in the coming weeks to check on their player's progress.

With the start of the World Cup less than four months away, Van Marwijck added: "He is a very important player for me so it is very important for me that he is fit."

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