Arsenal striker Robin Van Persie has revealed his pride at equalling Thierry Henry's club record for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year. But the prolific Van Persie is adamant helping Arsenal be successful is more important than any personal glory.
The Dutchman has scored 34 times in 2011 and has two matches left this year to surpass the all-time Premier League record of 36 goals by Alan Shearer in 1995. Van Persie, who equalled Henry's tally with his penalty in the win at Aston Villa, said: "It is a big honour to equal Thierry's record because he is probably the best player Arsenal ever had. To achieve what he did in a year is really special. It makes me proud.
"I think it has helped that I haven't missed a single Premier League game and featured for 90 minutes in most of them. When you have a good run, and you feel fresh and fit, you try things, you take more risks here and there than, for example, if you are just coming back from injury. You always need a couple of games (to get fully sharp) when you're back from injury.
"As a striker I think it is really important to have a go. If you look at my performances, I take more risks now because I know with the team behind me I will always get more chances. It's not that I only get one chance normally, I always get one, two, three, sometimes four chances in a game. That sort of tells me that I can take a risk here and there."
But Van Persie stressed: "It (the scoring records) is not my main target. The main target is to win games and to help my team out and to have a good run. After losing to Manchester City, it is always really important to bounce back after a defeat. Great teams do bounce back and that's what we had to do at Villa on Wednesday. Now we have Wolves on Tuesday, then afterwards QPR both at home, so hopefully we can have a good run again."
Van Persie is also adamant he takes pleasure from creating as well as scoring goals for the Gunners, for whom he has netted 47 times in 55 games in all competitions during 2011. He said: "I want to help my team, I want to help them with assists, help them with goals, help them with good football.
"In some games that means holding the ball when we're struggling. For me it is not just scoring. Football is more for me than just scoring the ball in the back of the net. I think football can give you much more than to score. For example at Villa I put a nice pass through to Aaron Ramsey. I do enjoy that as much as a goal."