Robin van Persie believes his flexible, interchangeable partnership with Wayne Rooney has forged a new position up front for Manchester United.
Since arriving at Old Trafford in the summer, the Dutchman has been in sensational form and is enjoying an irresistible attacking alliance with his English team-mate. He feels their fluidity and tactical knowhow means they no longer fit the classic definitions of 'a number nine' - normally the poacher in the penalty area - and 'a number ten' - the more creative player linking midfield and attack.
“I call it a nine-and-a-half because you have two positions, the nine and the ten, and we are both nine-and-a-half ,” says van Persie. “We are just helping each other out. We both play behind and a bit higher up. It seems to be working well and I am very happy with Wayne - hopefully we can keep it going.”
Sir Alex Ferguson, a former centre-forward who scored an impressive 186 goals in just under 350 appearances as a player, agrees with van Persie’s theory and says there is more to come from the burgeoning strike partnership.
“I think he's right,” the boss declared. “There's flexibility there and the right type of movement. They also both have the courage to play in these positions. Robin’s not far away in that respect.
“They're both mobile players and good footballers with a great desire to play and win. I don't think you saw the best of them as a partnership against Arsenal.”