Van Gaal: I had a great conversation with Van Persie over his changed role

The new Oranje boss was pleasantly surprised with the Arsenal star's acceptance of a place on the bench for the forthcoming friendly against Belgium
Louis van Gaal has praised Robin van Persie for his professional reaction to the news that the Netherlands coach will be selecting Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as his first-choice striker for now.

The Arsenal star had been Oranje's No.9 ever since the 2010 World Cup, but failed to replicate his club form for the national side, and will now have to settle for a spot on the bench for a while.

"I had a fantastic conversation with Robin. I had to tell him that his situation has changed and that I prefer Huntelaar for now," Van Gaal was quoted as saying by De Telegraaf.

"It was a great talk not just about football, but also about life in general. I was pleasantly surprised. This was probably one of the best conversations I have ever had with a player. It's pretty rare to have such a good talk with a player.

"I told him that the best player plays, but that his situation can quickly change. I am confident that there will be a moment where he pulls us through."

Van Gaal will be in charge of Netherlands for the first time since his return in Wednesday's friendly against Belgium.