Manchester United Training

Hey, so it turns out that some—actually most—of what was written in the wider world of football speculamasturbation about Robin van Persie’s supposed disgust over David Moyes at Man United was maybe not true, exactly. At least if we’re willing to accept the words that came from RvP’s own mouth.

Here are some of those words:

I’m very happy with my teammates and I’m very happy with my manager and his staff. The sessions we have on the training ground are fantastic and I’m learning a lot from them every day. I’ve been a professional footballer for 12 years now and there’s no doubt I’m learning new things and progressing with David Moyes.

Over the last few years I’ve started to look more closely at the way coaches work to learn from them – not just here at the club but with the international team as well. I’ve worked with some brilliant coaches and I’ve taken a real interest in all the methods they use and the choices they make. And I can tell you that Moyes’ sessions and the things he says in his team meetings are spot-on. I really enjoy working under him and I’m absolutely convinced things will pick up and we’ll turn it around.

I mean, whoops? I guess that was all wrong. And yet interestingly, the Guardian article on the interview, which van Persie gave to the official United match programme, prefaces the remarks with this paragraph, very much still in the present tense:

Van Persie’s future is in doubt as he has endured a difficult time during Moyes’s first season as manager of the champions. After United’s 2-0 defeat by Olympiakos a fortnight ago in the Champions League last-16 first leg in Greece, the Dutchman appeared to criticise some of his teammates for occupying space he should be operating in.

This could be read as questioning Moyes’s tactics and Van Persie’s countryman Ronald de Boer last week claimed the 30-year-old could leave United if Moyes does not bolster the squad in the summer with the top-level signings required to ensure a credible title challenge next season. This followed the Guardian’s revelation that Van Persie would consider leaving in the summer.

Now, I’m not really a very good journalist, but if I’m faced with taking two sources—one being a fellow national with whom the player in question does not often see, and the other the man himself—I know which one I would take.

Of course, it’s definitely possible Robin van Persie is a dirty liar and is leading on his supporters with a white-washy statement.

But then referencing van Persie’s earlier remarks (“Our fellow players are sometimes occupying the spaces I want to play in. And when I see that it makes it difficult for me to come to those spaces as well. So that forces me to adjust my runs, based on the position of my fellow players. And unfortunately, they’re often playing in my zones. I think that’s a shame”) as evidence he’s upset with Moyes’ tactics?

The same remarks that were rounded with an explicit defense of David Moyes (“He’s working hard at it, and so are we. Sometimes we play well, but not all the time. We don’t have luck on our side. It’s easy to point the finger at someone, but I’m not like that. We have to do better ourselves”)!?

Sorry, but come on.

Of course the originators of this story will claim RvP is lying, and that their sources (never to be revealed) are airtight, and they’re just doing their job, and it’s not their fault if player’s lie, the press is hard working and they can only print what they believe to be true and the author of the story has a history of reputable reporting (this is an old tune and I know it well). And we, ourselves, will have to make our own judgment call? Who do we believe?