London: Dutch striker Robin van Persie will miss Manchester United’s opening Premier League match against Swansea City after being given an extended break post the World Cup.
Van Persie, 30, did not travel with United on their pre-season tour of the United States and will not appear in the final friendly against Valencia at Old Trafford on August 12, four days before their first league match.
Manager Louis van Gaal said his compatriot would resume training on Monday and having missed much of last season through injury, would not be rushed back into the team till he reaches 100 per cent fitness. “When a player has been on holiday for three weeks, he has to train,” Van Gaal said.
”I’m sorry, but players have to train and Robin needs a full training regime behind him before he can play again. People can criticise me for my decision, but I know what to do with players who have had three weeks’ holiday.
“Hopefully, Robin will get his fitness back very fast but for now, he won’t play. Robin wants to play every game… I know that… But so do the other 30 players in the squad.”
Van Persie, whose partnership with Wayne Rooney is seen as key to regaining a Champions League spot, begins his pre-season training at United’s Aon complex. The striker has scored 48 goals in 63 starts during two seasons at United and enjoys a close relationship with Van Gaal.
The former Netherlands manager, though, had substituted his star forward in the World Cup quarter final against Costa Rica and won’t give him any special treatment at Old Trafford, even if he is a candidate to be the team’s captain. Van Persie missed six weeks due to a knee injury sustained towards the end of last season and David Moyes, the then United manager, was accused of making him work too hard.