By Chris Harris
Robin van Persie is "proud" to be the Arsenal captain and insists that the honour has not changed him.
The Dutch striker succeeded Cesc Fabregas as skipper last summer and has led by example ever since, scoring 33 times in all competitions to emerge as the frontrunner for the Footballer of the Year award.
Van Persie has grown up on and off the pitch since he joined Arsenal as a raw talent in the summer of 2004 but he doesn't think the captaincy has altered his approach to his team-mates.
"I don't think it changed me a lot in the way I am because I believe you should always stay the same," he told Arsenal Player.
"I think the only thing that has changed for me is that it has been made official. Before that I was always helping people out where I could because we all help each other out, it's not only me. This is the way our club is.
"I do realise that some stuff starts with me but that counts for every single person for themselves as well. Good behaviour starts from yourself. If you expect that from other people, you should start by yourself and be helpful to everyone else.
"That has nothing to do with the captaincy, it is the way you should be. Everybody should try to be positive and try to help each other out. I don't think I am the main starter in all of that."
All the same, Van Persie is deeply honoured to follow in the footsteps of some of Arsenal's greatest servants.
"I was very proud [to be made captain], obviously," he said. "If you look at the history of Arsenal captains, being part of that is a very special feeling.
"It makes me proud because Arsenal is a massive club. You look at Tony Adams, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas - those guys were proper captains. I like it, it feels comfortable and not weird."
Watch the full 'Close Up' interview with Robin on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source