A very gifted but hugely unpredictable talent.
Royston Drenthe, at the age of just 27, is entering what should be his peak years as a footballer, but the former Galactico is still searching for a permanent home.
Frozen out by parent club Reading, Drenthe joined Sheffield Wednesday on transfer deadline day looking to resurrect his faltering career. The ex-Real Madrid, Feyenoord and Everton winger struggled to make an impact in Berkshire last season, making 17 starts and seven substitute appearances, hitting just two goals.
Drenthe trained with Reading’s Under-21s side over the summer and he was not even given a squad number for their current Championship campaign.
But despite Drenthe’s chequered past, Gray felt he was a gamble worth taking. Now the Dutch international, one of the big earners at Reading, admits he is enjoying his football again.
“I feel very good,” he said. “I’m having a great time here.
“My teammates are really kind. I’ve got a good relationship with the gaffer and everyone at the club.”
In his two-month stint at Hillsborough, Drenthe has featured seven times as a substitute but is still waiting to make his full debut.
He said: “I am always ready, even if I’m not fit because I know my capabilities. I think I am ready to start but that’s up to the gaffer.
“I have to keep working hard on the training ground and when I get my chance I have to show what I am capable of. I think I am fit enough to play games.
“We are a very good team and everybody is doing well at the moment. Everybody deserves to play so I have to prove to the gaffer that I deserve to play.
“I spoke to the gaffer. He is happy with me.
“I know what I have to do and where I stand. I know when I come on the field what I want to do.
“Only two players in the world can perform consistently game in, game out and they are Ronaldo and Messi.
“But I will always try my best and do what I’m good at and that’s one-v-one situations and taking on players and looking for opportunities for my team mates.”
Drenthe, who can operate at left-back or on the left flank, is set to return to Reading on January 2.
When pressed on whether he would like his loan deal to be extended, he said: “Wednesday are my club at the moment.
“The decision is not for me to make at the moment. I don’t think it is the right time to discuss my situation. It is still far away. When the time to talk about it comes, I will let you know.”
Stuart Gray, the Owls head coach, has praised Drenthe’s attitude but reminded him he cannot shirk his defensive responsibilities.
“Royston has been very patient,” said Gray, who is still looking to bolster his forward department. “He’s not played much football.
“Reading didn’t want him. We have given him a home here. We’ve had to get him fit but it has taken a while. He’s got to transfer what he shows us on the training ground into games.”