Robin van Persie has explained why he turned down the chance to join Erik ten Hag’s coaching team at Manchester United.
The former United and Arsenal striker is currently in charge of Feyenoord’s Under-16 side, whom his son Shaqueel turns out for.
Van Persie was offered the chance to return to Old Trafford as Ten Hag’s assistant, but rejected these advances to remain at Feyenoord – a decision he explained in a recent interview with Life After Football.
“My son and daughter are important right now. The fact that they have both found their passion is great. A hobby is nice, but you hope that they really find a passion,” he said.
“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.
“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.”
Although Van Persie will not be joining him, the ex-Netherlands international did insist that Ten Hag had made a terrific choice by taking over at United.
Listen now to 90min’s Manchester United podcast, The Promised Land, with Scott Saunders & Rob Blanchette. On this week’s show they discuss reports linking Ruben Neves and Robert Lewandowski with moves to Old Trafford, the latest on Frenkie de Jong, and Andy O’Boyle’s return to the club.
“The respect of the fans is enormous,” He added. “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.”
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