Former Republic of Ireland midfilder Kevin Kilbane believes Manchester United may not see striker Robin van Persie play another full season in his career.
The experienced Dutch striker has featured 26 times for the Red Devils this season and has sat on the sidelines with an ankle injury since his side’s loss away to Swansea.
Old Trafford hierarchy had hoped he would be fit to face Manchester City in today’s Manchester derby, but countryman and manager Louis van Gaal ruled out a return earlier in the week.
BBC pundit Kilbane, who earned 110 caps for the Republic of Ireland, believes the former Arsenal man will struggle to nail down a spot in the Manchester United first team again.
Quoted in The Express he said, “Robin van Persie has been struggling this season, you take him out of it United look a different side.
“The problem is if he’s not starting. He’s not going to be happy. Is he ever going to be fit to play a full season now?”
The striker’s contract at Manchester United will expire in 2016 and is reportedly considering interest from Italy, with Inter and Juventus ready to table £18 million bids – a £6 million drop in the fee the Red Devils paid Arsenal for his services.
Former Liverpool man Jamie Carragher agrees with Kilbane, claiming that Van Persie’s days in the Premier League are significantly numbered, “On the back of the World Cup (last summer) it took Van Persie a while for him to get going and get back in the team, and I think it has been difficult for him this season and last season with injury.
“He suffered a lot at Arsenal with injuries, but his first season at United seemed to be without trouble.
“It hasn’t been the same since. If Van Gaal just wants to play with one striker it would be Wayne Rooney, so Van Persie will have to wait his turn.”