By Chris Harris

If Arsenal Football Club is one big family, Robin van Persie is one of its big brothers.

The Dutchman shed some light on the camaraderie within the squad when he faced the media ahead of this weekend's trip to Fulham.

Van Persie has been at the Club for five-and-a-half years and, like all new signings, needed time to adapt when he landed in London in May 2004. Kolo Toure helped Van Persie find his feet back then and now the 26-year-old is taking the latest crop of Arsenal talent under his experienced wing.

For Van Persie, that brotherly love is what makes Arsenal a special club.

"When I first came to Arsenal, I was 20," he reflected. "Kolo came to me and said 'see me as your older brother. You come from another country, you speak a different language and are a bit nervous'.

"I now say this, along with Gael Clichy, to the youngsters. There is the Dutch guy Nacer Barazite, Jack Wilshere and Armand Traore who still need to find their way, along with Thomas [Vermaelen].

"After two weeks, Thomas said 'you are right, everyone is so nice and kind’.

"I just really like the Club. I really love Arsenal and I want them to succeed. I can be quite hard and other people can be hard on me. It is all about whether we trust each other. That is what is important.

"I speak to my Dutch international colleagues. I do feel our team spirit is at a higher level than most other clubs. Other clubs have lots of egos. We have egos here but the whole squad has good egos and good characters. That is not the case at many other clubs.

"We now have more experience too. There is me, Clichy, Fabregas and Song - we cannot hide behind saying we are inexperienced anymore. It is now about how much we really want it."

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to as the source
25 Sep 2009