Arsenal and Man Utd legend secures first managerial job

Former Arsenal and Manchester United striker Robin van Persie has been named head coach of SC Heerenveen after signing a two-year deal, the Frisian club announced on Friday.

Van Persie starred for the Gunners for almost a decade before making the controversial move up north in 2012, scoring 58 goals in three seasons at United and helping them win their most recent Premier League title in 2013.

The Dutchman retired in 2019 after a brief spell back with boyhood club Feyenoord, where he eventually moved into coaching, most recently managing the club’s Under-18s.

At Heerenveen, Van Persie reunites with an old acquaintance in general manager Ferry de Haan. The two were teammates when Feyenoord lifted the UEFA Cup in 2002.

On Van Persie, De Haan said (via SC Heerenveen’s website): “Although Robin is at the beginning of his career as head coach, he immediately convinced us. He is an ambitious, passionate and inquisitive trainer.

“I think he knows very well how to touch a group, how to enthuse and motivate. He also has a clear vision on the individual development of players, both in team training and in individual coaching.”

Robin van PersieRobin van Persie

Van Persie was an key member of the Man Utd squad that won the Premier League title in 2013 / Matthew Ashton/GettyImages

Van Persie himself is looking forward to his new challenge at SC Heerenveen, stating: “The coaching profession is comprehensive and challenging, and I practice it with a lot of passion and pleasure. I would like to continue my development and the role of head coach fits perfectly with that goal. I am therefore delighted with the opportunity that SC Heerenveen offers me.

“SC Heerenveen is a very nice Eredivisie club with a rich tradition and loyal supporters. It is a fantastic challenge to be able to contribute to the sporting ambitions and development of the club as head coach.”

Robin van Persie netted 132 goals in eight years at Arsenal and is the all-time top scorer for the Netherlands with 50 goals in 102 international matches.

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