Van Persie to return earlier than expected

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk claims Robin van Persie could be back in action at the start of April after receiving a positive update on the Arsenal forward’s recovery from an ankle injury.

Van Persie’s club believe the 26-year-old will be back at the end of April, rather than the start of that month, and only if everything in his rehabilitation goes to plan following ligament damage suffered in November.

Both scenarios represent a decent outcome considering the fears of Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger at the time of the injury, with the Frenchman stopping just short of writing off Van Persie’s chances of playing again in the campaign.

“I spoke to him on the phone last week and he is improving all the time and feeling better,” Van Marwijk said. “You can hear it in his voice that he feels he is improving.

“I hope that he will play at the beginning of April and he feels this is maybe possible.”

Arsenal physios are set to travel to Holland in the coming weeks to check on Van Persie’s progress.

Wenger had given Van Persie a new role this season, as the central striker in a front three, which resulted in eight goals before he suffered the injury that required surgery in Amsterdam.

Arsenal have clearly missed Van Persie but are still only six points behind Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea – and his return could help them set up an exciting finish to the season.

Van Marwijk will be closely monitoring Van Persie’s progress ahead of the World Cup in South Africa this summer.

“He is a very important player for me so it is very important for me that he is fit,” he added.

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