By Wayne Veysey
Robin van Persie is set to return for Manchester United within 10 days after completing two weeks of specialist fitness work in his native Netherlands.
The striker has been working one-on-one with PSV Eindhoven fitness coach Arno Philips after suffering a thigh injury in early December.
Van Persie has completed the final stage of his rehabilitation and has now returned to Manchester to resume training at United’s Carrington headquarters.
Sources say a programme is in place for the Dutchman to gradually build up his football fitness before making his long-awaited first-team return.
The Red Devils spearhead is not expected to figure in the club’s league home match against Swansea City on Saturday evening but is likely to make his comeback when they visit Chelsea eight days later.
Van Persie’s imminent return is a boost to beleaguered United boss David Moyes, who has not been able to call upon the prolific striker for the team’s last eight matches.
The 30-year-old’s second season at Old Trafford has been interrupted by thigh, toe and groin injuries but his record of 10 goals in 16 appearances demonstrates what an asset he remains.
Van Persie was ruled out for a month by Moyes after he injured his thigh taking the corner that led to United’s winner against Shakhtar Donetsk on December 10.
The forward has a good relationship with Philips from their time working together for the Dutch national team.
Philips is the fitness coach at PSV but he also has wide experience of physiotherapist and strength and conditioning roles, often as a member of Guus Hiddink’s backroom staff.
Van Persie worked with Philips last October after picking up a toe injury on international duty and is believed to have insisted that his latest rehabilitation would be monitored by his fellow Dutchman, even though it was away from United’s training base.