However, a pivotal meeting with 29-year-old prompted Van Gaal to make a U-turn, having previously stated that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would replace the United forward in Friday's qualifier against Turkey.
Van Persie repaid his coach's faith with a goal, as Netherlands ran out 2-0 winners.
"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," Van Gaal told reporters.
"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."