Which player 'triggered' van Persie in training?

Manchester United great Robin van Persie has explained how Ryan Giggs “triggered me to give my absolute best in training”, even when the iconic Welshman was closing in on his 40th birthday.

In the latest episode of our UTD Podcast series, which was released around the world on Monday, the Dutchman looks back on his time at Old Trafford with great fondness, paying particular attention to the 2012/13 season and a debut campaign that yielded his first Premier League title. 

Van Persie, of course, joined Sir Alex Ferguson’s squad from rivals Arsenal and quickly noticed the high standards that were maintained in the Reds’ intense sessions at the Aon Training Complex. 

When Robin signed for United, Giggs was 38 and about to celebrate his 39th birthday in November, but that ‘experience’ did not prevent him from being one of our outstanding performers in training. 

Referencing the Welshman in his UTD Podcast, van Persie explains:
“Actually, I was doing a show for Premier League Productions with Giggsy a couple of months ago and Steve, the presenter, was talking about my Premier League trophy.

UTD Podcast: How we reacted to winning title no.20Video

“I was like, 'yeah, okay, but it's enough now, this guy has 13 you know, it's a lot, so that’s enough praise for me, give it to him!' Giggsy, to be fair, he is so genuine and he is so polite, and he just goes along with it. He is an absolute legend, you know. Thirteen Premier League titles! 

“He was such a classy player and a fantastic guy,”
Robin continues.
“He was one of the players as well who really triggered me to give my absolute best in every single training session. 

“Because the stuff he did at 38 and 39 at that time... He was doing some unbelievable stuff in training, like no-look passes, some crosses where you think 'why is he giving that ball?' and then suddenly everything clicks a few seconds later. I was really enjoying the training and sometimes I was just laughing, because I was really enjoying the session and the actions from guys like him.”

In his unmissable episode, van Persie also jokes about the night when he finally won his first Premier League title and noticed how several senior members of the United dressing room were less excited than he was, including Giggsy and, naturally, the unflappable club legend Paul Scholes. 

“I did feel that,” Robin explains. “I saw Scholes sitting at the back of the bus. He was enjoying it in his own style, but he wasn't like me and other players who were maybe winning it for the first or second time. They [Giggs and Scholes] were quiet, you know, but smiling and enjoying it in a different way. 

“Through that whole group I could see who had won more than five and who hadn't. Like Buttner, for example! Alexander Buttner, he was partying and he was all over the place [laughs]. That was his first and if see you the difference between Alex Buttner and Giggsy, for example, it was quite funny.”

Listen to more from Robin in a special, feature-length UTD Podcast episode now.

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