• Premier League

Van Persie won't start United opener against Swansea

ESPN staff
August 3, 2014
Louis van Gaal and Robin van Persie hold a close relationship © Getty Images

Louis van Gaal says Robin van Persie will not start in Manchester United's Premier League opening game against Swansea City.

Van Persie has missed United's pre-season tour of America, including the 3-1 victory over Real Madrid on Saturday, having had an extended break following his World Cup commitments with the Netherlands.

RVP told to grow up

  • New Netherlands manager Guus Hiddink has called for Robin van Persie to grow up and settle his differences with Pierre van Hooijdonk.
  • Van Hooijdonk, a new addition to the Dutch coaching team, rubbed captain Van Persie up the wrong way by criticising the striker during this summer's World Cup, in which the Netherlands finished third.
  • Click here to read more

Van Gaal admitted he may be criticised for his decision to leave the striker out of United's opener on August 16, but insisted Van Persie needs to improve his fitness.

"I'm sure he won't play in those games," Van Gaal said, talking about United's pre-season friendly with Valencia on August 12 and the Swansea tie. "He has to train. I'm sorry, but when you have three weeks' holiday you need training sessions, not a game.

"Everyone can criticise me but I know what you have to do with players who have had that length of holiday. The player himself always wants to play but the other 30 players want to play also."

Van Persie is due to start training at United's AON complex on Monday. The 30 year old, made Dutch captain by Van Gaal, enjoys a close relationship with the manager and is a leading candidate to be given the United armband.

However, while Van Persie is seen as a key player at Old Trafford, Van Gaal will not risk the fitness of a player who suffered numerous injury problems under David Moyes last season.

Van Persie was hampered by a knee injury during the last campaign and Van Gaal wants to ensure the forward is fully fit in order to partner Wayne Rooney up front.

However, Van Persie is not the only player who will be expected to undertake extra training. Van Gaal has asked United executive vice-chairman to ditch plans for lucrative friendlies during the first 10 weeks of the season, so that he can focus on training and tactics.

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