Robin van Persie 'like a brother' to Afobe at Arsenal

Robin van Persie and Benik Afobe celebrate a goal for Arsenal

Benik Afobe has described Robin van Persie as "like a big brother" and has thanked the Manchester United striker for helping him back to full fitness.

Afobe, who is from Arsenal, told BBC Radio Manchester that the Dutchman was a big inspiration as he recovered from a groin problem.

"I was injured for over six months and when he was young at Arsenal he used to get injured quite a lot," said Afobe.

"He told me to keep motivated and he kept asking about my rehab."

Benik Afobe (l) in action for Bolton Wanderers against Derby
Afobe (l) played 30 minutes of the win against Derby

Van Persie, 29, on 17 August, ending his eight-year stay with the Gunners.

And Afobe, who had loan spells at Huddersfield and Reading last season but has yet to make a first-team appearance for Arsenal, hopes van Persie will remain an influence on his career.

The 19-year-old continued: "When I came here, he said it was a big year for me after my injury.

"He always guides me and he was a bit like a big brother to me at Arsenal last season.

"I haven't seen him yet but I'm sure I'll see him at some time because Manchester is only 15 minutes away.

"He was a nice guy to me and he helped me a lot when I was injured so it will be nice to catch up with him."

Afobe has appeared as a substitute in both of Bolton's Championship matches so far this season and will remain at the Reebok Stadium for the rest of the campaign.