By Chris Harris

Robin van Persie says the element of surprise is one of his major weapons now he is a centre forward.

Arsenal's captain has had to learn a new skill set in the past few years while switching positions from his old 'second striker' role to become a more authentic forward.

Van Persie has been an unqualified success as an out-and-out striker, leading the line well, linking up play and scoring goals at a tremendous rate - he has 33 in all competitions this season.

And while in geographical terms the Dutchman's past and present roles are not too different, he believes they are poles apart in practice.

"It is quite strange because a main striker and a second striker are quite close to each other, you are playing next to each other sometimes or just behind. But it is a massive difference in your game," Van Persie told Arsenal Player.

"A second striker is a role where you are doing a lot of running, but one-pace running - closing people down to the left or to the right. Sometimes you will have a high-speed run but it is mainly one-pace stuff.

"For a main striker you might give everything for 10 to 15 seconds or 30 seconds, whatever it takes. After that you might have a breather and then you go again, it is in intervals from really low straight to the maximum again. There isn't too much in the middle and it is a bit more of an aggressive game.

"To be fair I like that though because sometimes you can just surprise an opponent by doing that, having a breather and then, bang, you are off again. It is a different game in lots of ways, that is just one of the reasons.

"You are, of course, closer to the opponent's goal, which is handy because otherwise you have to cover all that distance. Even if you are not playing well as a main striker, just that one, short moment in behind means you can still score."

Watch the full 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 as the source
3 Apr 2012