Dutch forward Robin van Persie just needs more playing time to get him back to his sharpest, claimed coach Bert van Marwijk on Sunday.Van Persie has failed to sparkle in either of The Netherlands' first two FIFA World Cup™ Group E matches which have seen them become the first team to qualify for the second round after a 2-0 victory over Denmark and a 1-0 win agaisnt Japan.

The 26-year-old Arsenal star has come in for heavy criticism from the Dutch media, but van Marwijk pleaded for him to be given some leeway. "Robin has enough sense to be his own worst critic. He is conscious that he did play at his best level against either Denmark or Japan. He is not happy but he is going to get better, I am sure of that."

Van Marwijk, who replaced Marco van Basten after UEFA EURO 2008, said that Van Persie's truncated season for Arsenal had had a knock-on effect. "Robin was injured for a long time this past season and he needs to play in order to rediscover his level. For this reason, I will start with him against Cameroon on Thursday."

Van Persie, who injured an ankle last December which kept him out of action until April, had looked to be back to his best in the warm-up matches scoring four goals in the three games. "The press flattered him enormously after those games," said van Marwijk. "But he remained the same player. He didn't lose his sensations. It is just important to show a little patience regarding him."