Since being given the club captaincy, Arsenal striker Robin van Persie’s performances and injury record has certainly improved a great deal, but he says that the responsibility of leading the Gunners hasn’t forced him to change his style of play at all.
In an interview with Arsenal.com, van Persie said that he was extremely proud when he was chosen the new Arsenal captain after the sale of Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona, but claimed that he still sees himself as a team member rather than the leader of the pack.
The Dutchman thinks that coach Arsene Wenger has created a friendly environment in the Arsenal dressing room where every member of the team tries to help out each other and there is no air of superiority. He revealed that being the captain is just a formal title at Arsenal, but in reality there are more than a few leaders who try to guide the youngsters and out of form players in difficult situations.
Van Persie said: “I don’t think it changed me a lot in the way I am because I believe you should always stay the same. I think the only thing that has changed for me is that it has been made official. Before that I was always helping people out where I could because we all help each other out, it’s not only me. This is the way our club is.
“I do realise that some stuff starts with me but that counts for every single person for themselves as well. Good behaviour starts from yourself. If you expect that from other people, you should start by yourself and be helpful to everyone else. That has nothing to do with the captaincy, it is the way you should be. Everybody should try to be positive and try to help each other out. I don’t think I am the main starter in all of that.”
However, he did admit that he is honoured to be performing a role which was once performed by club legends such as Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry.
“I was very proud [to be made captain], obviously. If you look at the history of Arsenal captains, being part of that is a very special feeling. It makes me proud because Arsenal is a massive club. You look at Tony Adams, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas – those guys were proper captains. I like it, it feels comfortable and not weird,” van Persie added.