Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Van Persie: I Owe So Much to My Bosses; in an Exclusive Interview, the Arsenal Striker Reveals the Support He Has Received as He Fights to Clear His Name over an Allegation of Rape

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Van Persie: I Owe So Much to My Bosses; in an Exclusive Interview, the Arsenal Striker Reveals the Support He Has Received as He Fights to Clear His Name over an Allegation of Rape

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW HODGSON

ROBIN VAN PERSIE admits he has Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger and Holland coach Marco van Basten to thank for helping him get through the worst summer in his life.

The Arsenal striker's career and reputation was put on the line when he was arrested in Holland on the suspicion of rape.

Van Persie spent two weeks in jail as Dutch police investigated claims that he had assaulted a woman in a Rotterdam hotel on 13 June.

The 22-year-old was eventually released without being charged, but is still under investigation and the situation is weighing heavily on his young shoulders.

He continues to strongly deny the alleged victim's accusations, but has found strength in the support shown by his club and country as both Wenger and Van Basten have continued to play him.

And Van Persie, who could be set to win his fifth cap for Holland against Andorra in a Group One World Cup qualifier tonight, knows he owes the duo a great deal.

Van Persie said: "I have had a difficult time and there are not so many people who will help you through those times.

"But Van Basten has handled me very well. He is very positive about me to other people and I'm happy with the way he is protecting me.

There aren't many people like that.

He is very important for me.

"Arsenal and Arsene Wenger have also helped me as well. I wanted to have a nice holiday but it didn't turn out the way I expected. I have a problem but I'm concentrating on my football at the moment.

"I never thought about staying in England and not playing for the Dutch team. I have a goal and I can only reach that goal if I play in the Dutch team. I am happy with the way my football is going now."

Rotterdam police had hoped to sort out the situation one way or the other by August but their enquiries have dragged into a third month.

Van Persie, who hired one of Holland's top criminal trial lawyers in Abraham Moszkowicz, remains hopeful-he will soon be cleared and able to concentrate fully on his game. …

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