THE REAL ROYSTON
From Madrid to Hillsborough, Owls new-boy Drenthe aims to impress
FORMER Real Madrid star Royston Drenthe has made a few mistakes in his career – but he reckons that joining Sheffield Wednesday on loan is certainly not one of them.
The 27-year-old bad boy has wasted chances at the ten-time European champions and Premier League side Everton in the past with his off-field antics.
As a result he’s swapped life in the Champions League for the Championship since the start of last season, when he joined Reading in a shock move from Russian side Alania Vladikavkaz.
The modest surroundings of Berkshire, though, proved no match for the Bernabeu and the 27-yearold Dutchman fell out of favour with Royals boss Nigel Adkins after just a year – much like David Moyes who told him never to return to Everton while on loan in April 2012.
Drenthe’s appetite for living life to the full off the pitch has been landing him in hot water for years.
Take the time, just days after arriving in Madrid at the age of 20, when he crashed his sports car into a police cruiser. Or when he was allegedly filmed racing his Ferrari while drinking.
He’s also been known to storm out of the odd training session – think maverick and Mario Balotelli.
But Drenthe says he’s a misunderstood talent and has vowed to prove Sheffield Wednesday were right in not believing everything they hear.
“I’m an honest person, I’m not difficult, I deal with the situation as it is,” he said.“I was a player for Real Madrid but I don’t demand this, or demand that. I’m a normal guy. I don’t feel I deserve anything special.
“I’m not a serious guy, I don’t have to regret anything I’ve done. Now I’m here at Sheffield Wednesday I want to do the best I can for the team.”
Drenthe, or Ricky to his mates, originally caught the eye of then-Real boss Bernd Schuster in 2007 after some phenomenal displays for Feyenoord and Holland U21s, with whom he won the European Championships.
Yet life in the Spanish capital was always going to be worlds apart for the left-back turned winger, who was born on the tougher streets of Rotterdam to Surinamese immigrant parents.
“People find it easy to say ‘You were too young’, but if I came straight from Real Madrid’s youth team, would I have been too young at 20? I don’t think so,” added Drenthe, who cost Real a cool £10m.
“It’s never too quick, I took the chance and I’m glad I did. I always say everything happens for a reason. I’m a strong man, whenever I’ve done something wrong I’ve always made it right again.
“I remember the days at Real Madrid like they were yesterday. I learned a lot – you do when you play with the biggest players in the world. It was a beautiful experience.
“At this moment in my career, anything is still possible. I know what I can do, I need to show all the world what I can do now.
“People know my name, and when they think of Royston Drenthe they deserve a bit of quality, that’s what they expect.
“I think I can still do it, I feel great at the moment.”
While Drenthe and Sheffield Wednesday appear an unlikely match, the Owls have an impressive track record of developing their loan talent.
England’s hero-in-waiting Ross Barkley honed his skills at Hillsborough in a 13-game spell in 2012, while Sunderland’s saviour last season Connor Wickham left South Yorkshire as recently as January.
At 20 and 21 the duo may be at the start of their own adventure, but Drenthe believes there’s another twist or two left in his.
“I know I have the quality. I have to believe I can return to the top of the game. Everyone knows what I can do with the ball,” continued the Holland international.
“Every time you move to a new club it’s a chance. This is another chance for me and I’m really excited to prove what I can do.”
HONEST: Royston Drenthe on loan at Reading
FUN TIMES: Drenthe with Madrid team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo