Robin van Persie says Benik Afobe can pick up from where he left off after the youngster’s recovery from a long-term injury.

A serious groin problem suffered in pre-season meant a six-month spell on the sidelines for Afobe but he made a goalscoring return in the Reserves’ 5-0 victory over Norwich last week.

The 19-year-old was involved in Arsène Wenger’s first team last summer and Van Persie believes he has all the ingredients to have a big career.

“I was delighted to see Benik come back in the Reserves last week, scoring against Norwich,” Van Persie told the Official Matchday Programme.

“Six months is a long time out at his age, especially when he did really well with the first-team over pre-season and was making fast progress.

“He has returned impressively though - I watched him in training last week while I was doing my warm-down and he looked really strong and quick, a proper English striker who holds the ball up well and works very hard.

“When you are young you just want to be playing, improving your game and making your career, and he was denied that for a long time.

“To come back as he has done is tremendous - he is a fantastic lad, a really good character to have in the squad and a player I genuinely rate, so I’m really proud of him.

“He absolutely loves his football and treats it very seriously. That is the main thing for a young footballer - if you really love the game like he does then you will make it, and he has everything to become a great player.”

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27 Feb 2012