FLORIANOPOLIS, Brazil (Reuters) - Robin van Persie’s struggles at Manchester United this season might benefit the Netherlands at this year’s World Cup in Brazil, their coach Louis van Gaal said on Wednesday.
“The football he is experiencing now at Manchester United may be difficult for him but that could lead to him wishing to show his capability, his technique and his tactical skills at the World Cup,” Van Gaal told reporters at a pre-World Cup workshop.
Van Persie has scored 10 league goals this season but the striker not been as instrumental or influential as he was the previous campaign when United won the Premier League title.
The champions are currently seventh in the table after 26 games.
“I think he’ll be great in the World Cup because he loves to play in the Dutch squad,” Van Gaal added.
“He played well in the qualifiers and was more influential than ever so I hope he will continue this.”
Van Gaal made the 30-year-old striker his captain and saw Van Persie set a new Dutch scoring record in their World Cup qualifiers, where the Netherlands won nine of their 10 group games and became the first European team to qualify.
Van Gaal, however, said there was no guarantee that Van Persie would spearhead his attack in Brazil.
“It could be that I pick Van Persie, (Arjen) Robben, Rafael van der Vaart, (Wesley) Sneijder. But I could also go for the young guys that I’ve brought into the team over the last two years. We still have two months to see,” he said.
The Dutch, who play a friendly against France in Paris on March 5, have been drawn in a group with holders Spain, Australia and Chile for the World Cup that begins on June 12.
Editing by Toby Davis