Jaap Stam believes Robin van Persie has been a world-class addition to the Manchester United ranks.
In an exclusive interview with ManUtd.com ahead of his appearance in the Red Heart United fixture with Real Madrid Legends on 2 June, the former centre-back revealed there is great pride in the Netherlands following van Persie's Old Trafford impact.
Despite van Persie not scoring in his last 10 appearances (since United's win over Everton in February), the spectacular summer signing tops the club scoring charts and Stam stresses the Holland hitman is still making a valuable contribution to United's title bid.
"Since day one, when he joined, he has done very well," Stam told ManUtd.com. "Although I've heard people talking about him not scoring for a while, he's scored a lot before that and, when he gets chances again, he will score goals for United in the future.
"He's done exceptionally well and is a world-class player who has proved himself in England really well since he left Holland. So everyone has got a lot of respect for him for what he's done in his career.
"Robin has been very important for the club. It's hard for strikers to score in every game and to finish off every chance that they get. It's not like that in football. The opponents always know the quality of the strikers so, if van Persie is scoring, a lot of other teams will be marking him with two defenders and making it hard for him to score.
"But it doesn't matter as he's then taking a lot of attention away from the defenders and, if someone else scores, as they have been doing, then it's okay."
Stam is eagerly awaiting the chance to return to Old Trafford this summer and is certain to receive a warm welcome from the supporters who still chant his name years after his departure to Lazio.