APPARENTLY a team dinner at Real Madrid just wasn’t the same without Royston Drenthe’s colourful presence.
Such was the spiky little Dutchman’s temporary popularity in the Bernabeu dressing room, Sergio Ramos would not allow anyone to start until his late arrival.
Once there, Drenthe recalled in an old interview, Ramos & Co would smile and ask him to sing.
A gold toothed, rapping, former skater from Rotterdam, the 24-year-old has already brought some of that star quality to Everton’s Finch Farm training ground.
Indeed Royston Ricky, note the extra initial on the back of his shirt today, moved his new manager to smile and admit he is “a bit noisy” among other things, after a week when he marked his run out for the reserves with a goal.
“His character has been good, we have enjoyed him and at the moment he has been fine,” said David Moyes, as he weighed up the extent to which his loan signing would feature against Wigan today.
“He’s keeping us on our toes. He’s a happy fellow at the moment.”
Drenthe is reportedly the type of player who operates with his big, beating heart firmly on sleeve. In short, if he’s happy – he plays well.
How well he plays during this season-long stint at Goodison could yet trigger wider interest in him, but the Blues at least have first option on making his stay permanent.
The Blues have taken over the last year of Drenthe’s deal, and can sign him in the summer when he becomes a free agent.
“He’s here for a year,” said Moyes. “We’ll have a chance to see how he is. I’ve met his family, he’s brought his kids over. Hopefully he’ll be a good boy.
“Supporters always like to see new faces and work out how they are going to fit into the team, and that’s part of being a football manager as well. I’ve seen things I really like and there are some things I’m going to have to do a wee bit of work on. We have to try and get the best from him.”
Drenthe’s 14m euro 2007 move to Real Madrid went sour when the La Liga club’s supporters decided he was more zero than their initial assessment of hero.
And since signing for the Blues on transfer deadline day, Drenthe has admitted he and Jose Mourinho are unlikely to be exchanging Christmas cards.
Moyes tried to solicit the Special One’s opinion before signing the Dutch tyro, but went ahead with the deal anyway when he was unable to consult him.
“I didn’t speak to Mourinho, no. I tried earlier in the season but couldn’t get through,” said Moyes.
“I can see why Real Madrid wanted him. But I don’t want to put too much pressure on the lad too early.
“He’s someone who we have signed for a year to have a look at and hopefully he can help us out.”
Moyes points out that Drenthe will be in good company if he resurrects his fading star on Merseyside.
“We’ve signed a few players like that in the past. Look at Steven Pienaar and Mikel Arteta,” said the Blues boss.
“Mikel wasn’t playing at Sociedad, Steven was struggling at Dortmund, so we’ve had a few like that.
“We have had a few that haven’t worked, but the point is that we have had some that have. We hope that it works with Royston.”
Although he finds his new-boy amusing and intriguing in equal measures, Moyes hasn’t grilled him too much over why his Real Madrid move flopped.
“I’ve not really had a chance to ask why it didn’t work out at Real,” he said.
“It’s been more a time for him to get to know me and us to get to know him, and finding out about him in terms of what he is like on the pitch and how he interacts with the players.
“We are finding out where he likes to play in training games, how he passes it, how he delivers the ball, what I think I would expect him to bring to the team and in what areas.
“More than likely he’ll have played differently at Real Madrid than we’ll ask him to at Everton. We both need to look at what fits.”
Drenthe has a reputation in Spain as being prone to temperamental outbursts on the pitch, but Moyes is experienced enough to know how to smooth any rough edges.
“I’m confident if we see anything wrong with his temperament I can point it out, like we did with Felli (Marouane Fellaini).
“That might be in him. But he is still pretty young and keen to impress, and because of that he has that little bit of fire in his belly. That’s not a bad thing.
“Royston must have for some reason not been regarded good enough to get into the Real Madrid team. But there is no shame in that.
“We’re talking about someone we got in at the last minute before the transfer deadline.
“Let’s hope it becomes something bigger, but we have to make sure we just calm it down right now.”