WORLD CUP: PLAYERS TO WATCH
Robin van Persie (Netherlands)
Robin Van Persie was Arsenal’s first signing of the 2004 closed season. Van Persie is still only young but is fast assuming the mould of the classic Dutch forward. Tall and strong with exceptional technical ability, the young Dutchman also has alarming pace. Van Persie is also reputed to be something of a dead ball specialist. The Dutchman’s preferred position is ‘in the hole’, though he was originally schooled as a left-winger. He has received caps for the Dutch national team at both U-19 and U-21 level. On signing up for the Gunners Van Persie seemed keen to learn: “There were quite a few clubs who wanted me but I can learn everything about football at Arsenal.”
Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Robben is an exciting talent whose electric pace and direct play are a handful for any defender. His preferred position is on the left, but when he cuts inside he presents a real goal threat. Signed after showing potential at PSV Eindhoven and has since developed into one of the most feared attacking players in Europe. Born on January 23, 1984, He plays for Chelsea as a winger. He is known for his excellent ball technique, his game-breaking speed and precise dribbling skills.
He was the 2000/01 player of the year for FC Groningen and the 2002/03 Talent of the Year for PSV Eindhoven, both in the Dutch Eredivisie. Robben was also the November 2004 player of the month for Chelsea.