'The best talk I have ever had with a player' - Van Gaal on Van Persie

The Manchester United striker persuaded the new Netherlands coach not to drop him from his plans, or the qualifier against Turkey, following his below-par Euro 2012 campaign
Robin van Persie saved his international career with Netherlands after showdown talks with manager Louis Van Gaal, following a largely disappointing Euro 2012 campaign from the then Arsenal striker, who subsequently joined  Manchester United.

Despite Van Persie's explosive start to the season, with four goals in two starts for new club United, Van Gaal - who replaced Bert van Marwijk as national team boss in the wake of Oranje's Euro shambles - was set to leave his star striker out of his World Cup qualification plans in response to below-par performances in Ukraine and Poland in June.

However, a pivotal meeting with Van Persie prompted Van Gaal to make a sensational U-turn, having previously stated that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would replace the United man in Friday's qualifier against Turkey.

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Van Persie repaid his manager's faith with a goal, as Netherlands ran out comfortable 2-0 winners.

Van Gaal told reporters of the meeting: “After the summer, I had a showdown with a couple of the players who had been part of the team which failed in at Euro 2012. Van Persie was one of those players.

“I told him face-to-face that I had different plans and that I was no longer going to consider him as the No.1 striker for Holland.

“Robin’s reaction stunned me. He showed so much character. He was positive, told me he respected me and said he would give ­everything for the team and that I could rely on him any day I was going to pick him again.

“It was the best talk I have ever with a player - and I really mean that. Van Persie has asked me not to discuss the content of our heart-to-heart with the media, so I can’t tell you specifically what we talked about.

“But it really was a special meeting and I have huge respect for him as both a player and a person.”