Robin van Persie when Wayne Rooney was going to Arsenal


The Netherlands international’s first season with United went like a dream as he quickly adapted to life under Sir Alex Ferguson.

He admits the team spirit was sensational within the camp: “In my first year, that was very, very good. Maybe the best I have ever seen. Because Rio [Ferdinand], had one of his bans so he wasn’t allowed to drive, so I was his taxi-driver for about six months because we used to live next to each other.

“What tells you about the spirit of the team as well, every single drive, he was going on about football, going on about winning. How we going to beat the next team, about the team process, who is doing well, who needs help? We were always asking questions. It was always about eventually winning. We had to find ways to help each other, to trigger each other, to win.

“Off the pitch, if stuff like that is happening. It is like 27 players, everyone has loads of money, everyone thinks he is the best player. But everyone was at ease. Everyone was at ease with his place in team. Everyone accepted it as well. When you realise that – as a team, as a coach, as players – then you are always competing for a trophy. Because that is the most difficult thing to actually happen in a team that everyone is on the same page and everyone breathes football and everyone talks about it. Just about one goal – winning together.


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