Belfast Telegraph

Wenger hails complete Van Persie

Arsene Wenger believes handing Robin van Persie the captain's armband has made him the best all-round striker in the Premier League.

The Arsenal manager insists his one-time problem player has grown into a leader who can help inject drive and desire into the Gunners after their struggling start to the season.

Wenger, whose side have won five of their last six matches without impressing, said: "He has made a big improvement on the mental side since he has arrived to this club. And I think the final step was the armband. Yes, he had a history of being a bit temperamental, but he is a guy who takes things on board."

Asked whether he was the best all-round striker in the Premier League, Wenger added: "This season, certainly, yes. The last six months, certainly the most efficient.

"He's not a typical goal-scorer. When you see him play it never comes to your mind that this guy is a goal-scorer. And then you look at the record and think he's not only a good player, he's as well a top class goal-scorer.

"For all the other goal-scorers you do the opposite. You think they do not contribute too much to the game but they score the goals. For him it's the opposite. You look, this is a good player. And then you see that he scores goals as well."

Wenger is mindful that Holland international Van Persie has played 16 matches this season already and 41 this year and he could even decide to rest him against Stoke at the Emirates stadium on Sunday.

Wenger said: "On Monday I decide always to rest him and on Friday I play him again. It is always a difficult decision (leaving him out) to make at the moment, but I will have to do it.

"We will assess everybody, then I will make the decision for Sunday. I will have to rotate a little bit."

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