Steven Pienaar says that the toll of his succession of injury problems had him considering retirement but credits his team-mates for keeping up his morale through a tough season.
Once a mainstay in the Everton side, Pienaar has managed just 11 appearances this season, often struggling to play two matches in succession due to groin and knee complaints.
The 33 year-old made a long-awaited return to action against Swansea 10 days ago but then missed the win over Burnley as he still wasn't 100%.
He is hopeful of getting more game-time in before the end of the season but he is not afraid to admit to having had thoughts of calling time on his career.
"At one stage, I thought I had better just hang my boots up and call it a day," he told evertonfc.com. "But on the other side I was just thinking that I enjoy going in and seeing the guys so I just had to stay strong and that kept me going.
"When you are at home not coming in for training you feel very down but as soon as I walk through the door, there's always the camaraderie in the group, there is always fun.
"Even if you are injured, you can always laugh and it keeps you going. Just to be among the players, it's kept me going."
Roberto Martinez, meanwhile, has not discounted Pienaar from his plans for next season despite his poor appearance record this term.
The manager is confident that the South African can resolve his knee issues and play a big part in the 2015-16 campaign after a solid pre-season programme.
"We need to get him fit, but it is not a big, big issue," Martinez said in the Liverpool Echo. "His knee was a big problem and all of the problems that come from the mechanics of the knee.
"You get those seasons where you get one problem after another because you are trying to catch up.
"So we hope with a period in the summer we will be able to refresh and readjust him to get him ready for pre-season and set him up for a positive campaign next season."
Reader Comments (41)
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1 Posted 22/04/2015 at 22:59:12
Sorry to be cynical. But if I was considering quitting my job, but realised I could go in to work, have a laugh with lads and earn a couple of mill a year, I would probably postpone my retirement.
2 Posted 22/04/2015 at 23:18:01
3 Posted 23/04/2015 at 00:30:48
4 Posted 23/04/2015 at 00:59:32
5 Posted 23/04/2015 at 00:54:09
Plus thereÂs more chance of refÂs booking players for fouls the later the game goes on so he might get more protection.
This season weÂve witnessed no plan B when some of the main players arenÂt fit, to rely on them again and expect a full season would be madness. Gibson and Pienaar would bring real quality from the bench but for me they shouldnÂt be starters.
6 Posted 23/04/2015 at 01:37:16
7 Posted 23/04/2015 at 02:05:01
8 Posted 23/04/2015 at 03:40:07
IÂm afraid our current manager hasnÂt quite caught on to this management skill.
9 Posted 23/04/2015 at 03:52:41
He hasnÂt been, and is not meant to be a marauding winger flying down the wing, smashing through every challenge.
We kept talking about lacking players with guile to split defences. We have no short of players who can barge their way through. Pienaar brings fluidity to the team play. Paul Scholes was so valuable to Man Utd as he reinvented himself in the middle of the park, pinging long and short passes. While Pienaar canÂt do the long passes, he can certainly do that quick one-two defence splitting passes.
HeÂs worth keeping.
10 Posted 23/04/2015 at 06:16:57
Sounds like weÂll see if he is fit following a full pre season which I suppose ainÂt a bad shout.
11 Posted 23/04/2015 at 06:46:57
Not that I advocate getting rid of either, mind you.
12 Posted 23/04/2015 at 07:08:57
The fact is that we need players in our squad who can do what Pienaar, Osman and Gibson can do but sadly none of these players can be even nearly relied upon to be fit for 90% of games. As such I think we need to probably find younger more reliable versions who will be on the pitch more than on the treatment table.
13 Posted 23/04/2015 at 07:58:05
Early in his career with us he did win many free kicks. However he is one of those maddening players who goes down too easily, and in the last few years the refs have not been so accommodating to him. If he played for someone else, we would look on his antics differently.
Apart from this, IÂve always liked him!
14 Posted 23/04/2015 at 08:17:42
15 Posted 23/04/2015 at 08:27:48
Sorry Pienaar but IÂm in spring-cleaning mode.
16 Posted 23/04/2015 at 08:24:35
I often wonder how playing Pienaar just behind the striker would have fared? We keep harping on and ever since Arteta left, we have let's be honest, harped on about not having a creative midfielder who can play a killer pass. We have never even tried playing a player of PienaarÂs intelligence there and it surprises me considering he is a player in similar stature to Arteta.
Then again I always said when Bilyaletdinov was here that his best position, with his biggest asset being that rocket left foot, would have been in the middle just being a striker, another player who was slated for not producing it on the wing, but to everybody apart from Moyes, you could clearly see the lad was being wasted.
I donÂt know if itÂs something to consider if Pienaar is fit until the end of the season or not, but having Mirallas on the left and Lennon left just maybe itÂs something we could give a trial to.
Pienaar just behind Lukaku with McCarthy and Barry behind him? Or McCarthy and Barkley even?
17 Posted 23/04/2015 at 08:37:40
We know what the current personnel offers in the current formation, it stagnates attacks and frankly it hasnÂt produced a free flowing attacking team all season.
Martinez says heÂs flexible but we need to see proof.
18 Posted 23/04/2015 at 08:23:14
Signing Lennon would be a start although heÂs not exactly young, letÂs see if Roberto really does have the nouse to find a young creative CM that would certainly buy him some credibility back after a pretty awful second season.
19 Posted 23/04/2015 at 08:53:46
Interesting that Lukaku says that he loves having Kone playing up front alongside him, he believes it gives him more space to operate as Kone distracts the opposition. Are we going to see 4-4-2 more often next season? Will Lukaku throw a strop if we continue with a lone striker formation? Does Lukaku think that he looks a better player having somebody worse than him playing up front? We shall see.
20 Posted 23/04/2015 at 09:04:51
21 Posted 23/04/2015 at 09:27:57
22 Posted 23/04/2015 at 09:24:03
Was this his Swan song? (Ha Ha Ha). Let's hope not. He looked really useful. DonÂt write him off yet Toffee mates!
23 Posted 23/04/2015 at 09:36:31
24 Posted 23/04/2015 at 10:05:51
The important points made so far conclude that with our threadbare squad there are too many players on the treatment table for long periods. We have been too stretched this season, and I hope some of our old, injury-plagued boys can be put out to grass and some of the youngsters given more of a run out.
25 Posted 23/04/2015 at 10:29:27
Contracted till June 2016 at ١.1M, I canÂt see him going just yet.
26 Posted 23/04/2015 at 11:58:38
27 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:28:26
28 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:11:47
Barkley and Osman are perfect rotation players as both tend to be impact players of late. I am sure that Garbutt or even Baines could do the same with Barry and Pienaar. These players have the experience, skill and know how to succeed.
Beardsley became similar towards the end of his career as did Scholes who was the best English midfielder of Premier League years. None of those players at EFC are on mega bucks so why not keep them when there are no ready made replacements in our junior ranks?
Pienaar was indeed one of the most fouled players in the Premier League because he dribbled and shielded the ball so well. We won lots of free kicks in dangerous areas when Pienaar played and Baines scored a fair few of them. It is no coincidence that Pienaar gave the whole team a lift in his last game and that is because his style of play is effective and lifts the fans too.
I am truly disappointed that our coaches have not been able to bring on a similarly styled youngster to do the Pienaar role and keep that left-sided attacking option open. All we seem to produce are defenders. I honestly believe that perhaps Garbutt could be coached to play that role in the way that Bale was similarly used when he was just a pretty average full back.
Garbutt and Baines each have pace and can defend and cross a decent ball. I think that this is a way to keep Garbutt and Baines happy and valuable to the team. I would try Garbutt in place of Barry or McCarthy at the hour mark in a game instead of bringing on Besic who is basically a defender. Oviedo unfortunately is not yet fit and may not be fully fit this season.
It would be wonderful if Garbutt grew into this role and I am sure that Baines would benefit.
29 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:26:05
ThatÂs all well and good if you have an "ample" transfer budget to replace the loads of players every different poster wants dumping.
Ossie, Pienaar, Hibbert, Gibson, Kone, Barry, Distin, Alcaraz, Howard, McGeady... thatÂs ten already.
How exactly are we going to replace these ten players? Is Kenwright going to win a few lotteries all over the world?
We are brassic due to the incompetence of the board and thatÂs why the infirm are getting extensions.
Bobby last year said we needed 6/7 players, we got 2/3 and now we are going to probably lose about 6 this season so we are about 10 short of where we should be again..... donÂt panic....donÂt panic.
On a brighter note, I have decided to give it one more season; soft ollies here is renewing... the baby wonÂt realise I am missing every Saturday in two just yet. Why do we do it???
30 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:40:16
We canÂt help it mate - being at the match is a lot better than not being able to attend, no matter what the performance from the team is. Having to watch ropey streams on our lap-tops is bad enough for the away games but is intolerable for the home matches, we need one of those magic, "everything falls into place" seasons next time around, or the one following... or the one after that...
31 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:44:18
32 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:45:01
Pienaar is a favourite in our family - normally referred to as "Peanuts". We were having Sunday lunch at friends, and my kids were chatting with their kids. My son was going on about "Peanuts" and my friends son giggled and then said "penis" (as it sort of sounds similar to peanuts if you are only six years old) - and giggled some more. My friendÂs daughter then joined the banter and giggled and muttered "vagina" to which my son immediately shouted back "No heÂs not, heÂs from South Africa !" (He thought sheÂd said "(heÂs) from China").
Should he stay? I hope so, I think as mentioned above - heÂs useful to have in the squad, can do a job coming off the bench, and heÂs creative in a way we have a short supply.
33 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:57:25
How many games have those 10 played? 3 fit first team players could replace them I imagine.
34 Posted 23/04/2015 at 12:57:25
Despite the numbers showing that there are indeed bigger clubs out there, Pienaar will always seemingly have the "stain" of leaving and returning held against him rather than welcoming him back. Look how the fans have treated Lukaku and Mirallas and last season Baines.
What I like most about him is that there is no-one t Everton who can routinely take on two or three players and in a space of mere inches get a pass through to a teammate. When he occupies two players or requires the second man behind on defense to hold his spot, it opens up space that allows Baines, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku, Barry, McCarthy etc to be open.
This is the value of him versus Naismith or Lennon, or McGeady or even Atsu etc. A pacey player without close skills is easier to defend than one who gets in on you and by you not with speed but guile. He creates the fouls by getting the defender formerly in front of him, behind him, making them come through him like Cazorla, Hazard, Osman, etc.
Even if we had the money to replace 10 players, his name is not one of the ones I would put on that list.
35 Posted 23/04/2015 at 13:44:18
36 Posted 23/04/2015 at 13:37:23
The best example IÂve seen in a long time of a poster taking hundreds of opinions (many well-reasoned) and condensing them all into one glib, fact-free oversimplification.
Do you have any views on films, theatre or literature?
The Godfather maybe?
"Just a load of gangsters like... in the olden days"
"About a trick-cyclist with a patient who likes horses and stuff"
Decline And Fall?
"A toff who gets lobbed out of Oxford for running round with his kecks off."
(By the way, IÂm a big fan of Pienaar.)
37 Posted 23/04/2015 at 16:15:03
Had his contract been running out in 2015 heÂd be leaving the club this summer but I believe his contract runs out in 2016 so heÂll be around for another year Â– as would all of us if we were earning ١M a year...
The old guard of Osman, Pienaar, Hibbo and Howard to some extent need to be leaving the club over the next year. We should be looking to get replacements for at least two of these this summer so we donÂt have a disaster next year. (Nevermind Distin and Alcaraz...)
38 Posted 23/04/2015 at 16:27:28
39 Posted 23/04/2015 at 19:35:54
A truly gifted and influential player of whom weÂve had the best years of, letÂs remember? On the other hand, if Pienaar cannot stay fit, then his contract should be allowed to run down and I would not be surprised if he might opt to return to South Africa and have his swansong in his beloved Cape Town. All in all, Steven and Everton FC have been good for each other and I think most fans will remember him fondly when he leaves.
40 Posted 24/04/2015 at 01:11:35
But letÂs be honest how many players of his all round quality have we been able to purchase in the last few decades? If he can come on for the last 20 mins of a number of games next season and still make a difference in the EPL then heÂs worth every penny.
Everyone knows that we need new, younger creative players in the squad but donÂt be too quick to write off the impact that someone of PienaarÂs can have on a tightly contested game (which is every game in the EPL).
41 Posted 25/04/2015 at 01:23:04
And despite leaving us, you could never doubt his effort for the cause. In that mauling we got against Arsenal (Lescott saga) he was the only one who showed a bit of hurt and pride. 10 heads went down and he just worked harder and harder. That kind of thing sticks with you.
Despite all that, itÂs clear to me he needs to be replaced. HeÂs not the future and heÂs barely the present. Left mid is a vital position for us to strengthen.
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