By Chris Harris
Robin van Persie has won plaudits and prizes for his goalscoring this year but Arsenal's chief converter of chances is just as happy as the creator.
The captain equalled Thierry Henry's Club record of 34 top-flight goals in a calendar year when he netted at Aston Villa last week and yet Van Persie only recently made the switch to a centre forward role.
He played on the flank or as a deeper-lying striker in the first phase of his Arsenal career and the Dutchman still loves the buzz of a top-class assist - the stock-in-trade of those roles.
"For me I do appreciate assists as much as a proper goal," Van Persie told Arsenal Player before Christmas.
"It's so important to have that. Luckily enough we live in a world now where people do recognise good assists. Before it was more about the goalscorer and he was the main man but people do realise that the guy that makes that final pass is just as important.
"We all know that it's important that the assists get the credit too, which is very important in my opinion. For me personally, if I could choose between a tap-in or a really good assist, I would choose the assist all day long.
"For example, Alex Song's pass for me in the game against Everton. It was a really good volley, OK, but without that pass I would have never scored."
Van Persie will go into the last Premier League game of 2011 needing two goals to match Alan Shearer's Premier League record of 36 in a calendar year. It's a landmark that would make the Dutchman proud but it's not his priority.
"Not really, no," said Van Persie. "I will try to break the record but it's not first on my wish list. It comes fourth or fifth, or something.
"For me I always want my basics right for what we have to do to win. If I can score it's good but I am not only going out on the pitch to score goals, I am going out there because I love football. I like to play and we want to win the game and get the three points.
"Hopefully I can add some assists or goals but I am not out there as maybe as some other strikers are, thinking of themselves. I am not like that and I never will be. We go out there in a different way and I prefer that.
"There are a lot of players who do their thing and that's it, but I'm going to make it a bit more complicated and ask more for more from myself."
Watch the full interview with Robin on Arsenal Player.Copyright 2013 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 28 Dec 2011