Van Persie: Van Gaal never gave me a chance at Manchester United

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The 31-year-old insists his countryman did not give him the opportunity to come back from an ankle injury sustained against Swansea City in February

Robin van Persie has hit out at Louis van Gaal for not giving him the chance to prove his fitness at Manchester United.

The 31-year-old completed a surprise move to Fenerbahce earlier this month after falling spectacularly out of favour at Old Trafford during Van Gaal’s first season in charge.

Van Persie made just four appearances over the final three months of the season after aggravating an ankle injury against Swansea City in February, and revealed he feared the worst when Van Gaal failed to bring him off the bench when United trailed 1-0 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in April.

“That was one of the first signals things weren’t going in the right direction,” he told the Sunday Times.

“I asked to play in the reserves, to get my minutes, but after was on the bench again. The atmosphere changed between me and Louis and people at the club saw it, but I was always professional. At that point I didn’t think to leave. [Van Persie’s wife] Bouchra was happy. The kids were happy. I was happy in Manchester.

“But I was still thinking we could come back from holiday and start from scratch. He had changed his mind about me before. When he took over Holland he said to me ‘You’re the No 3 striker.’ I was ‘O…K…’ but I fought and became the No 1 and his captain.

“But when I came back, it wasn’t an honest battle any more. Fighting to get back in the team wasn’t given me as an option. He was sending me to Pitch Two. And I’m a mature player. I’m not stupid. I didn’t get angry or emotional. These things are part of football, part of life. You have to make the best out of any situation so I’m doing this by moving on.

“I know Louis as a national team coach and now I get to know him as a club coach. And there is a difference.”

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