Van Persie eyes comeback after stepping up training

ARSENAL striker Robin van Persie has revealed he is close to making a return and expects to play a role in the Gunners’ final push for Premier League and European glory.

Holland star Van Persie says he is “medically fit” following a four-month lay-off and has recovered from his ankle injury sufficiently to train with a ball again.

He admits he needs to build up his fitness before returning to the first team but, with only seven weeks of the league remaining, can see light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m not there yet but I’ve left a difficult period behind. For a few weeks I’ve been training with the ball and it looks good,” he said.

“I still hope I can take part in the final phase of the league and hopefully the Champions League. This has been my goal from the beginning. My first goal is to play for Arsenal. When I said that a few months ago, I looked crazy. But as it stands now, that will happen. Only then can I think about the World Cup.”

Van Persie was in arguably the best form of his career, scoring seven times in 11 league games, before suffering ligament damage during a friendly against Italy in November.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has played hopes of a swift return, saying at the weekend: “Physically he looks very sharp but we aim at least to wait a month.”

Wenger, meanwhile, will learn today whether an appeal against Thomas Vermaelen’s red card from Saturday’s win over West Ham has been successful. The Belgium defender currently faces a one-match ban, meaning he would miss Saturday’s trip to Birmingham.