Royston Drenthe may not be the first player that springs to mind when you think of Everton under David Moyes.
The Dutchman burst onto the scene in 2007 for Holland at the UEFA European Under-21 Championships. As well as winning the competition, he was also named the best player of the tournament.
Drenthe eventually sealed a ‘dream’ move to Real Madrid from Feyenoord. But he failed to live up to his potential.
And with his career at the Santiago Bernabeu going nowhere, he found himself heading to Merseyside. Drenthe joined Everton on a season-long loan deal in September 2011, having spent the previous two campaigns on loan at Madrid’s fellow La Liga side Hercules.
The former Dutch international bagged his first goal for Everton in a 3-1 win over , just a week after making his debut as a substitute against Aston Villa, and went on to strike a further three times in 27 appearances following that.
However, an incredible argument with then-Blues boss David Moyes was toWigan Athletic bring his time at Goodison to an abrupt end. Shortly before a crunch FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool in April 2012, Drenthe found himself disciplined for attending a club meeting late.
Having clashed with the manager throughout the season over time-keeping issues, it all came to a head when the pair endured a blazing row which led to the winger never playing for the club again.
“I was waiting outside the room,” he explained to FourFourTwo back in 2019. “Whereas I probably should have just walked in quietly and taken a seat.
“When I went in afterwards, Moyes told me to f**k off. I should have accepted it, but I said, ‘what do you mean, f**k off, bro? You f**k off.’ And then I left for Holland and didn’t come back. If I’d adapted more to Moyes I think I’d have reaped the benefits, as initially I did play a lot under him.
“Together with my first months at Hercules, I had the best spell of my career at Everton.”
In an interview with Ben Foster earlier this season, former Blues goalkeeper Tim Howard revealed all about Drenthe’s antics during his time with the club. One story about a late night party at the club’s Finch Farm training ground sticks out.
“We had some wrong’uns at Everton as well, and those are the ones that stood out more than anything,” he told The Fozcast. “One was horrific, Royston Drenthe. We’re Everton, rolled sleeves up, worker bees.
“In comes Royston in Rolls-Royces to training, bowls in with his shoes untied, he has to run the perimeter of the training ground because he’s always late, his eyes were half open… you were just at Real Madrid, what are you doing here? This is weird.
“I guess he’d never heard of CCTV and he ended up coming to the training ground in the middle of the night with friends, and they’re in the hot tub… you’re just thinking ‘you’re at the wrong club here mate’.”
In a recent interview with Italian publication Gazzetta dello Sport, the former Holland international revealed some of the main reasons behind his turbulent career, which included spells in Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates as well as spending time back in England with Reading and Sheffield Wednesday.
He said: “I was 20 years old and at the peak of my career. It was my dream to walk into the Real Madrid dressing room, I will never forget that.
“But you have a life as a footballer and a life as a human being. You can mix that up to a point, but I didn’t see the need to change my lifestyle right away. Now I am aware that I didn’t do the right thing, that I made mistakes. I wasn’t ready to be a pro.
“I thought I was God, loved women and to party too much and you can’t combine that with football. I learn something new every time, but what happened, happened.”