Wenger: I would choose Carrick not Van Persie for PFA award

The Frenchman says the midfielder could play for Barcelona and also reveals why the Dutch striker decided to leave Arsenal for Manchester United in the summer

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says that Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick gets his vote for the Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year Award.

The England international has been nominated for the honour alongside fellow Premier League stars Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata, Luis Suarez and Gareth Bale, with the winner due to be announced on Sunday night.

Wenger feels Van Persie’s recent barren spell in front of goal could cost him and says that Carrick would be a good choice for the honour.

“I would choose Carrick,” Wenger said. “He is a quality passer. He could play for Barcelona, he would be perfectly suited to their game.

“He has a good vision and is an intelligent player, and it is for what he has achieved in his whole career as well. It is this year or never for him, just because he is 31 and after, they go down.

“You have a few other choices. Robin stayed for a while without scoring and the PFA vote happened during that period so that could go against him. You had [Luis] Suarez but he has bitten into his reward. You have Gareth Bale.

“I think Carrick is an underrated player in England and sometimes not only should the goalscorer be rewarded but the real players at the heart of the game.”

Arsenal face Manchester United on Sunday with former Gunner Van Persie returning to the Emirates for the first time and Wenger revealed why the Dutchman had decided to leave.

“We had a frank exchange of views, Robin is an honest guy,” Wenger said.

“He had arrived at 29 and thought ‘Can we win the championship here or do I have more chances to win it somewhere else?’ There’s a kind of timescale, like for a woman who has no baby at 39. She starts to think, ‘I have not much time left now’.

“It is difficult when the player does not want to be here … you can force him to be here and know that at the end of the season, the club does not get anything, and know that he might not contribute as well. So you are twice a loser.”

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