I was thrilled when Everton had secured the loan deal for Steven Pienaar. He had failed to live up to expectations at Ajax and had joined Borussia Dortmund on a free transfer. It didn?t work out at Dortmund. He played 25 games for Borussia scoring no goals. After one season, he was off to Everton for a season-long loan deal.
He made his Premier League debut coming on from the subs bench against Wigan. He looked a very lightweight and small player. On first impression, you doubted if he had the physical stature to handle the Premiership but he settled down and started to improve. He made himself a regular first-teamer after some encouraging performances, notably away to Bolton. He then scored his first goal for the club against Middlesbrough where he exchanged clever play with Mikel Arteta and slotted home. He then scored his second goal for the club in a 7-1 triumph against Sunderland where he was a part of some great build-up play with Nuno Valente.
He slowly became a fans? favourite at Goodison. His clever play and hard-working attitude went down well with the Goodison faithful. He was the first man down on the team sheet in some people?s eyes. After a good season, he earned himself a permanent deal at Everton and signed a 3-year deal for a fee of around £2million.
But then Pienaar broke his toe against PSV in a pre-season game, ruling him out of the first few games of the season. Everton started poorly. You could see the side was missing Pienaar. He recovered from his injury and got back to his best in no time by supplying a wonderful ball into Fellaini which he headed home to secure 3 points away at Bolton in the last minute. Pienaar went on and scored a vital winner against Tottenham at White Hart Lane which was later classed as an own goal. It showed that he was an important member of the squad.
As the season went on, Everton climbed the table and found themselves in 6th spot. Everton were also on an impressive run in the FA Cup. Pienaar was instrumental in this good form. His craft, willingness and energy were what Everton needed. He gave his all in every match. When the going got tough, he was always fighting for the ball and looking forward. There have been times when he has been criticised for throwing away possession, for instance, against Arsenal when Robin van Pierse scored a last-minute equaliser. He can also be at fault with his final ball as sometimes he can over-hit crosses but there have been many times when he has produced thrilling crosses that have resulted in goals.
One unimpressive statistic is the number of goals he scores. For a left winger, I would like to see him score more. He showed he is capable of this against Villa in the 3-3 draw where he scored a right footer curler from outside the box which gave Friedel no chance. That was his first of the season as the Spurs goal was given as an own goal. I wrote all that before Sunday?s Sunderland game and his well-taken goal, believe me!
For £2million, this was some purchase from Moyes. To get this quality of player for such a sum is brilliant. Pienaar has been an instrumental player for Everton in his time here. When he is off the pitch, his energy, drive and ambition his missed on the left. The way Baines and Pienaar overlap and interchange is something special. Playing three games in seven days and still performing to good standards is something next to brilliant. His passion, energy and drive are what make him such as a good player. He is much loved by all Evertonians and hopefully he will keep up his good work and help drive Everton to success. COYB!
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1 Posted 05/05/2009 at 07:52:03
2 Posted 05/05/2009 at 07:57:12
Even if he ever had an ?off-day? you always know he is going to give you everything in effort and energy. A £15m player for £2.5m ? great work by The Moyesiah!
3 Posted 05/05/2009 at 08:59:07
Pienaar is a joy to watch down the left and if we can find a winger of equal calibre on the other side, we will be a force to reckon with next season.
I’d say he’s possibly the most gifted winger we’ve had in the past 15 years, as good as Kanchelskis was.
Wrap him in cotton wool until the final. We simply can’t afford for him to be injured now as our last creative outlet.
4 Posted 05/05/2009 at 09:30:29
No, Tom, you’re quite right, the left side of our team is now looking good enough to make the step up. Stevie P and Bainsey are a quality combination and you don’t expect to find that level of work ethic with that level of skill and artistry - except in a Davey Moyes team.
Am confident for the 30th COYB
5 Posted 05/05/2009 at 09:57:49
Obviously Mikel Arteta is one, Leighton Baines and Leon Osman two more. But Steven Pienaar is possibly the most gifted of the entire squad when he’s at the races.
Plus he doesn’t half put a shift in, in front of Baines.
A huge player for us. If Moyes can find another one or two like him to fill the midfield with this season I would be absolutely delighted.
A massive player for us, like the article claims.
6 Posted 05/05/2009 at 10:08:53
This season with Arteta fit and in the centre and Peanuts on the left for a few games we played great football before Mikel?s injury. But next season if they are both fit and we spend any money we have a on a quick right winger then we will be sorted.
The only thing that worries me about the Cup Final is that Huddink is a genius and has surely already worked out that we only attack down the left flank these days... which, knowing this, you would think would be easier for Chelsea to defend against.
7 Posted 05/05/2009 at 10:55:17
But yeah, fantastic footballer.
8 Posted 05/05/2009 at 12:06:26
Hasn?t been the most consistent performer this season... And can?t even remotely agree with the ?player of the season stuff?... Could be great though.
9 Posted 05/05/2009 at 13:09:24
10 Posted 05/05/2009 at 13:44:54
However, I don?t think I would put him on the same level as Kanchelskis who scored 16 goals in one season and at that time was perhaps the world?s top winger. Add to the fact that he was one of United's top players at the start of their dominance ? I don?t think Pienaar is quite worthy of this comparison.
However he certainly is a good footballer and one who I believe would not look out of place in a side chasing the top 4. He could make a difference in the final. COYB
11 Posted 05/05/2009 at 14:02:35
SP is one of my favourites too. If we are being overly picky I’d like him not to go down quite so easily, but his flicks and tricks are worth (probably more than) his weight in gold!
12 Posted 05/05/2009 at 15:14:10
13 Posted 05/05/2009 at 22:28:37
14 Posted 06/05/2009 at 00:39:45
Another sign of the magic of Moyes.
15 Posted 06/05/2009 at 06:59:59
When looking for a player of the season, we should look at the whole season and unlike the popular choices, Pienaar wasn't costing us valuable points in the first quarter. I?ve been delighted with him since the day he arrived. My Player of the Season, by some distance.
16 Posted 06/05/2009 at 10:35:44
17 Posted 06/05/2009 at 13:28:16
Hopefully Moyes can bring in someone with similar pace and ability on the other flank and slot Arteta back in the middle when he is fit.
18 Posted 06/05/2009 at 13:38:07
19 Posted 06/05/2009 at 20:16:00
Onto Pienaar, when Arteta got injured I said on these boards that I thought that the one positive was that Pienaar was about to return from injury (the 2nd time) and reunite with Baines. SInce then they really have been great for us. Teams know how one sided we are but what can you do when these two are bombing forward and backwards together? Really pleased for Baines as well - and of course Moyes who stuck his neck out with Baines a bit.
I’m not sure I buy the inconsistency argument some are making about SP. He was out of touch after both of his injuries this year but besides comebacks he’s been excellent. He’s got a few tricks but his real benefit is just that he’s so accountable on the pitch; always wants the ball, always wants to do the right thing and even when things don’t go well he just goes back and tries to do all the right things again. That’s what top players do. They don’t hide.
Of course his defensive work and ’gut running’ is practically the stuff of legend amongst Evertonians so no need to go into that.
Re: the Sunderland match; If a Big 4 player put in that shift (and I can’t think of a winger that’s capable of such a complete performance) then we would hear about it forever. It was incredible and it’s not often you see one player produce the goods for every minute he’s on the pitch. If anyone tuned in and watched any 5 minute period of that game they would have picked SP as their man of the match.
And ever since that ball hit the net against Villa he’s looked like he believes he can score... here’s to a couple more before then end of the season and maybe a big goal in the final.
20 Posted 07/05/2009 at 01:12:52
That strike against Villa was exactly what I’ve been crying out for him to do, it was pure class. Let’s hope he can start sticking a few more in the onion bag on a consistent basis. If he became a 5 - 10 goal a season man then there’s no reason why he shouldn’t be on our wing for many years to come. Him and Baines down the left have been a revelation this year!
21 Posted 07/05/2009 at 08:54:42
By far and away the English Premier League is the most popular international league in South Africa and he would have watched many a game while he was growing up. Big names on a big stage.
He didn?t perform in Germany and I think he has something to prove, to himself and everyone at home.
There is a great player in there, and now, after almost 2 seasons I think he is starting to get the bit between his teeth.
I hope so, it makes me proud to see him in Blue, working hard, never giving up.
22 Posted 08/05/2009 at 12:43:50
I can’t think of any higher praise than that.