Fall from Grace – ex Everton winger Andy van der Meyde

Some players fail because they haven’t got the right attitude to succeed. They have the talent, but got caught up in their own hype and their inflated ego damages their career. Andy van der Meyde is the perfect example of this. Part of an Ajax side in 2002 that featured the likes of Wesley Sneidjer, Zlatan Ibrahomovic, Rafael van der Vaart and Christian Chivu, their careers have flourished at the likes of Inter Milan, Barcelona and Real Madrid, whilst van der Meyde has found himself without a club since leaving Everton last summer.

The signs were good when Everton signed van der Meyde signed in a deadline-day move in August 2005. A skilful winger with a good international pedigree, the Dutchman had played for Ajax and Inter Milan, was a product of Ajax’s famous academy that had produced the likes of Edgar Davids, Dennis Bergkamp, Clarence Seedorf, Edwin van der Sar and Patrick Kluivert a decade earlier, and was seen as similar to compatriot Arjen Robben, just on the opposite wing.

What actually happened was that van der Meyde frittered away his considerable talents at Goodison Park. Constant injuries, a sending off in his first Merseyside derby, refusal to turn up for training, getting robbed, getting wasted in Liverpool city centre (which he claimed was a result of his drink being spiked), basically defined the winger’s legacy at Everton.

Despite repeatedly saying he was settled and happy in Merseyside, the Dutchman never quite produced on the pitch, only making 20 appearances in four years at the club and often spent time training and playing for the reserves. Since moving to the Premiership, van der Meyde has not been picked for the Dutch national team, despite being a regular fixture in the squad from 2002-2004.

Injuries have definitely played a part in his demise, as has his daughter’s illness, which is apparently the reason why he regularly missed training. But there is no place for laziness and being out of shape in today’s game. Van der Meyde was released by Everton last summer after his contract expired. He is still without a club but has been linked with Hull and Blackburn recently, as Big Sam is known to like a bargain.

Van der Meyde is still only 30 years old, so if he can get back to full fitness and find the motivaton to play, then he could still contribute to a struggling Premiership team, or go back to his native Holland. It’s just a shame that a player with so much potential and an excellent pedigree in Europe failed so badly in the Premiership and will undoubtedly go down as one of David Moyes’ worst signings ever.

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