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Soccer: Blow for Man United as Van Persie ruled out for a month

Manchester United's Robin Van Persie (L) is challenged by Shakhtar Donetsk's Darijo Srna during their Champions League soccer match at Old T
Manchester United's Robin Van Persie (L) is challenged by Shakhtar Donetsk's Darijo Srna during their Champions League soccer match at Old T

LONDON (Reuters) - Robin van Persie will play no part in Manchester United's busy holiday program after being ruled out for a month with a thigh injury, manager David Moyes said on Friday.

With United trying to claw back the damage of a poor first third of the Premier League season, starting at Aston Villa on Sunday, the Dutchman's absence is a big blow, especially as they have not won in the Premier League without him.

"Robin van Persie is out for a month. He picked up a thigh strain in taking a corner kick which led to the goal (against Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday)," Moyes told a news conference.

Van Persie, who has scored seven goals in 11 Premier League matches this season, only returned from a groin injury in last weekend's 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle United, a result that left them in ninth place, 13 points behind leaders Arsenal.

"It's unfortunate because I think if you look at our record with Wayne Rooney and Robin in the team, it is actually very good and we have not had them for quite a period recently," Moyes said.

Responsibility will now fall to Rooney who has been in great form this season despite United's problems and who is edging towards Bobby Charlton's club scoring record of 247.

Rooney will clock up 500 first-team appearances (including with Everton) on Sunday and Moyes thinks that, at 28, the England international is getting better.

"There are big things ahead for Wayne and some big targets ahead - he can break Sir Bobby's record," Moyes said.

"As he gets older, he's adaptable and such a good football player. If he gets older and loses his pace, he can play a bit deeper. There are some fantastic legends around this club and Wayne has got a chance of turning out as one of them.

"He's been in the game a long time already but is someone who can go on and play many, many more games."

(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)

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