• Premier League

Ferguson: Van Persie is like Utd's new Cantona

ESPN staff
December 18, 2012
Robin van Persie 'has got a similar profile to Eric in terms of age and maturity' © PA Photos

Sir Alex Ferguson has compared Robin van Persie to Eric Cantona, saying Manchester United's summer signing has similarities with the Frenchman who was the inspirational figure in his first four title-winning campaigns.

The United manager feels he bought the finished article in 29-year-old Van Persie, just as he did when recruiting Cantona from then-English champions Leeds in 1992.

Van Persie has made an immediate impact since his £24 million transfer from Arsenal, scoring 15 goals for the Premier League leaders.

"He has got a similar profile to Eric in terms of age and maturity," Ferguson told Eurosport. "He had a great spell at Arsenal so there is no issue with him needing to settle into the Premier League.

"He came from one big club to another big club and he is an established international. All these things in his profile suited us perfectly."

Cantona was a catalyst for United and Ferguson believes Van Persie, like the former France international, is making the players around him better.

"I think it is happening," the veteran Scot said. "The attacking aspect of our game has definitely improved and of course he has weighed in with 15 goals so far.

"Chicharito [Javier Hernandez] has got nine goals, [Wayne] Rooney has eight and you only need to look at the number of goals we have scored around as a team, 43, which is quite a high amount for this time of year."

The quartet of Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez and Danny Welbeck have been likened to the four forwards who helped United win the treble of the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup in 1999.

"The comparisons are numbers," Ferguson said. "Having four strikers is definitely an advantage. We have four strikers and they are good strikers.

"The four we had in '99 - Andy Cole, Dwight Yorke, Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - were fantastic."

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