LON DON – Arsenal striker Robin van Persie has criticised unnamed "English colleagues'' for their party lifestyle and raised doubts over whether Gunners can win the Barclays Premier League next season.
The Dutch forward's words are not likely to find favor with Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger as he attempts to rally his squad for another tilt at the silverware that has proved elusive since the 2005 FA Cup.
Reflecting on his motivations, Van Persie rejected the notion that money or lifestyle were enough to keep him happy, but appeared to question whether young English players shared his philosophy.
"The really top players aren't fooled by riches or fame because they are fully focused with their football,'' he said.
"For me, it's very important to be having breakfast every morning with my two children and that wouldn't be possible if you were hanging about in a disco all night.
"When I see some of my English colleagues who are out till three in the morning, then I can only conclude that they are invariably finished at 33.''
As for Arsenal's prospects of winning the title, Van Persie appeared downbeat after the Gunners again failed to mount a credible challenge last season, despite being well set going into the final third of the season.
"Every year it always goes wrong in an identical way and that is frustrating,'' said Van Persie. "When you look at results in the last years, then Arsenal shouldn't be talking about winning the league because too many times things have gone wrong.
"Sometimes you have to eat the truth and be realistic. But I do believe with the signing of a number of players, then next season we should be in there competing for prizes.''