How Manchester United Robin van Persie hit the wall
Garry Birtles tells a story about the mental torment of enduring a goal drought while playing for Manchester United. His words could either force Robin van Persie to jump out of bed in a cold sweat or jolt him into realising that his own barren run is not as bad as it seems. Van Persie, Manchester United's prolific talisman during the first half of this season, will face Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium having gone 685 minutes without a goal for the Premier League leaders. That pales in comparison to Birtles, who managed just one in his first 32 games for United after his big-money arrival from Nottingham Forest in 1980 and he admits the distraction of his failure to score almost killed him. “It all reached a head when I almost killed myself when driving back to Nottingham from Manchester after a game against Everton,” Birtles said. “My barren run was running through my mind. I wasn’t concentrating on my driving and I ended up skidding across the road.
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