Sylvain Distin settled on Everton life despite delay in land-mark Premier League appearance
AN UPSET stomach might have prevented Sylvain Distin achieving a personal landmark on Sunday – but the Frenchman remains more settled than ever.
The 36-year-old had to be withdrawn from the starting line-up at Old Trafford during the warm-up after falling ill with a virus, a setback which denied him the chance to become the first foreign outfield player to make 400 Premier League appearances.
But even if he had been able to face the Red Devils, the laid-back veteran would have simply taken the memorable occasion in his stride.
He said: “I’m not there yet so I’m not pleased. But if it happens then it’s obviously something pretty amazing.
“I don’t count games to be fair so you could say to me 200, 300, 500 and I would just have said ‘yes’. But overall it’s not just the quantity of games, it’s the quality as well.
“I just take games one after each other and enjoy my time, but they are the kind of records that you can only be pleased about.
“I’ve been here (in the UK) for a long time and I enjoy it here. Do I feel English? No. Do I feel comfortable? Yes.”
Distin’s first taste of league football on these shores came in September 2001 with Newcastle United – coincidentally against Manchester United.
The Magpies ran out 4-3 winners that afternoon, although Distin actually counts his second Premier League outing as his proper debut.
“I only played something like a minute, if that. I can’t really remember touching the ball so I don’t count that as a game,” he says. “I remember my first real game which was West Ham away. One centre-back (Warren Barton) got injured and I came on. That was the first game for me.”
Distin spent one season on loan at St James’ Park, after which he completed a £4million move from Paris St Germain to Manchester City the following summer.
After half a decade with City, he then moved to Portsmouth in 2007 before switching to Goodison Park four years ago.
Distin recently signed a new one-year contract with Everton, which will extend his stay until the summer of next year.
“When you think about it, it’s something you have to be proud of because playing in the Premier League is not easy and staying there is even harder,” he added.
With Distin hoping to be back in action when Everton resume their FA Cup campaign at Oldham on Saturday, he selects two very different experiences in that competition as his stand-out career moments.
“My highlights were two FA Cup games. Winning the FA Cup with Portsmouth and the semi-final with Everton,” he said. “It was an extreme contrast.”
As one of the original founder members of the Football League, Everton are a club steeped in history and tradition and have played more seasons in the top flight of English football than any other club. Their association with the greatest cup competition in the world has thus conjured some wonderful moments, and this offering from Sport Media celebrates a century of memories since their first FA Cup success in 1906. Celebrate a century of memories with 'Everton's FA Cup 100'. Read