21 October 2020

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema on her hero Robin van Persie and making boys cry with her goals

Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema celebrated becoming the all-time top scorer in the Women’s Super League with a hat-trick against north London rivals Tottenham at the weekend.

The Dutch sensation has now netted 52 goals in 50 WSL matches since joining the Gunners from Bayern Munich in 2017.

Following her record-breaking landmark, the forward has opened up about her path through to establishing herself as one of the best attacking players in world football.

Miedema has proven herself as a prolific goalscorer since she was a teenager (Instagram: @viviannemiedema)

And one thing Miedema fondly remembers is her time spent playing in boys teams, where she would assert her dominance by scoring for fun.

"I’ve always been a goalscorer, even when I played as a No. 10 and playing in the boys’ team," she told the club website. "Actually, I can remember when I changed club and started playing for VV de Weide because they were in a higher division in Holland.

"We played a game against Groningen, a first division club in Holland with Richairo Zivkovic and Juninho Bacuna playing for them. Anyway, we beat them 7-5 and I scored five goals, and then assisted the other two. 

"I can’t remember any of the goals I scored, but I do remember all of the boys crying because they were the professional club and we’d beaten them as an amateur team. The goalkeeper and the two central defenders were devastated – they’d just conceded five goals to the only girl on the pitch. That was a good feeling."

When she was growing up, women’s football was nowhere near as prevalent as it is today, meaning Miedema had to look to the men’s game for inspiration.

And as a fellow Dutch striker, she found former Manchester United and Arsenal forward Robin van Persie to be the one player in particular that she idolised.

A young Miedema meeting her hero Van Persie (Instagram: @viviannemiedema)

"When I was younger, I would watch a lot of men’s football and Robin van Persie was the big example for me, mostly because he was around at the time that I started to watch football on TV," she added.

"We didn’t get too many English games in Holland, but I was smart enough to find it online and would watch him play for Arsenal and then Manchester United as well.

"He was a great example for me and was probably the most influential striker for me. Then there were the other Dutch players, like Ruud van Nistelrooy and Dirk Kuyt, who were big players as well so I would watch videos of them.

"I’d always watch the men’s games because when I was younger, I didn’t really realise what was there for women’s football. That’s the thing that’s starting to become way better now. Girls know now that they can play in the national team, they know that they can play for big club teams and it’s good that it’s finally happening."

After the international break, Miedema and Arsenal will return in the Continental Cup before then making the trip to Manchester United as the Dutch superstar looks to add to her ever-growing WSL tally.

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