Date:Monday August 6 2007
The Dutch. Gotta love 'em, aintcha. If they've not got a big doobie on the go, they're being all liberal and open-minded, n' stuff. They've got loads of windmills, fields chock-full of pwiddy tulips, and what's more they wear clogs. And if you like cycling, it's really really flat, so none of those nasty hills to have to pedal up in low gear, puffing like Michael Douglas on top of Catherine Zeta Jones by the time you get halfway up. Nooo-o-o-o, it doesn't get better than that ladies and gentlemen.
Ahhhh... you saw through me - I'm stereotyping, of course. Though part of me would love to believe that The Netherlands was full of the aforementioned, I'm sure it's not all millstones and cheese-rolling.
But what it is full of is talented footballers. And some of the best of them in recent years have plied their trade for the Arsenal. From nippy winger and manc-slayer Marc Overmars, to Gio Van Bronckhorst, and who could forget the hairstyle that was Glen Helder? Oh, and some bloke who wouldn't fly to European ties, but if he had it's highly unlikely he would have been selected anyway, as that bloke (I think he wore the number 10 shirt...) had no skill, no intelligence on the field, and the chances of him getting one goal in the MOTD goal-of-the-month top three, let alone getting ALL of them were nigh-on non-exis... oh, hold on.
Okay, so I'm having a laugh putting Helder in there, and Gio wasn't exactly world-class, but Overmars was and do i really need to even mention our all-round good egg and hero-to-gooners/supreme to all iceman? Nah, didnt think so.
Those guys are gone now, a generation put to bed, replaced by a new breed of majestic young Dutchmen, and the man at the forefront of this latest line of Oranje stars also plays for Arsenal. His name - Robin van Persie - RvP to thee and me.
And we love him, and expect great things of him. And it seems, so does the gaffer, Arsene Wenger.
An article on TEAMtalk this evening has Le Prof speaking highly of Rockin' Robin. He is quoted as saying, 'Robin has been transformed in a very good way since he arrived,' mused our French visionary.
'He has become a great passer of the ball as well as a talented player.
'Like any talented player, he is always worried about individual skills but he has improved and, for me, become a complete team player.'
Wenger did acknowledge that RvP's duties have increased somewhat since the departure of Thierry Henry earlier this summer, but emphasised he just wants the gifted Dutchman to play his game, and not get bogged down with the increased expectation.
'Robin's responsibilities have got higher now Thierry has left, Before it was all on [Thierry's] shoulders, now it is more on Robin's,' Arsene continued.
'I want him not to worry about that, just play good football, enjoy it and not be injured.'
Too darn right, Arsene - an injury-free season for RvP is overdue, as the longer-a-run he gets in the side, the more his game and talents reveal themselves. Here's hoping that the knock he picked up near the end of the Ajax game is not too serious.
Date:Monday August 6 2007
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