Watching Robin van Persie flourish at the World Cup under Louis van Gaal plastered smiles across the faces of Manchester United fans.
The flying Dutchman looked back to his best and goals personified his greatly improved performances after an indifferent season under David Moyes. Looking ahead to this season, Van Persie looked like he was going to come through on his promise to fans:
After an extended break following an exhaustive World Cup, fans were patient with Van Persie. It was going to take a little while for him to re-find his fitness. Yet, it’s now November and Van Persie is still two cans short of a six pack.
Instead of improving on last season, Van Persie has continued in the same vein. He looks disinterested when out of possession and lethargic when he has the ball at his feet. The movement which made him so deadly under Sir Alex Ferguson had been replaced by a style akin to Dimitar Berbatov, cantering around like a trotting pony. What has happened to Van Persie?
The Dutch striker vehemently denied reports from earlier this season that he needed surgery to fully recover from the injury he sustained against Olympiacos last year but his performances do nothing to suggest there may not have been an element of truth in them.
Louis van Gaal has stuck by Van Persie like a loyal labrador but the fact of the matter is that if he cannot pull out a performance against his former club after a strong international break with Holland, then his place in the side must surely be questioned with James Wilson waiting in the wings for an opportunity.
We need to see more of this…