By Nick Teale

Robin van Persie paid tribute to Thomas Vermaelen's technical ability in the wake of Arsenal's 4-0 victory over Wigan and said the pair have moved on from any differences they may have had in the past. 

The Dutchman came up against Vermaelen when Arsenal played Ajax in the Amsterdam Tournament two years ago and the pair had an on-pitch disagreement during the match.

"He is hard and played very strong on me physically," said Van Persie of the incident. "I was a little bit upset about that. So I told him in nice words!

"Now I'm happy he is on my side now. In training everyone mixes up so I play against him. He is tough and it's good because I am training against proper defenders."

Arsenal's No 11 went on to say he has been impressed by Vermaelen's technical and goalscoring ability since joining the Club in the summer.

"He is raised in Holland," said the 26-year-old. "I am not saying every Dutch player is good technically but when you are raised in Holland - especially at Ajax, Feyenoord or PSV - you are brought up getting the ball, moving it first touch, move again, pass and move. He was at Ajax since he was 15, so it is in his system for a long, long time."

Vermaelen is the surprise name at the top of Arsenal’s scoring charts with four goals so far this season and Van Persie believes that is significant. According to the Dutchman, Arsenal need players who are dangerous in the air.

"The first one [against Wigan] showed he is very, very strong from corners and free kicks and that is very important for us.

"Even if we play badly we can always score from set pieces. I would have been proud of his second goal.”

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21 Sep 2009