Bani Yas’ Royston Drenthe wings into Arabian Gulf League with big ambitions

Royston Drenthe has warned Arabian Gulf League full-backs they are in for a torrid time after being unveiled by new club Bani Yas.

Denzil Pinto
by Denzil Pinto
16th September 2015

article:16th September 2015

High hopes: Royston Drenthe.
High hopes: Royston Drenthe.

Royston Drenthe has warned Arabian Gulf League full-backs they are in for a torrid time after being unveiled by new club Bani Yas.

The 28-year-old free agent signed for the Sky Blues, completing their four-man foreign quota for the season and could make his debut from the bench at Fujairah on Friday. 

Drenthe was Player of the Tournament as the Netherlands won the European Under-21 Championship in 2007 and has played for La Liga giants Real Madrid as well as Premiership outfit Everton in his nomadic career.

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Since a patchy loan move to Goodison Park his fortunes have dipped with short-lived spells in Russia, the English Championship and Turkey. But he insists he is ready to make a big impact in the UAE – particularly if deployed in his favoured left-wing position.

“The manager decides where I will be playing but basically I’m a winger and that’s the reason why I’m here as well,” said Drenthe at the Bani Yas Stadium last night. 

“My favourite position is on the wing and if you want to have 120 per cent from Royston Drenthe then you have to put me on the wing and that’s where I can perform to the best of my ability most of the time.

“I want to win everything and that’s always been my spirit. I have played 10 years of professional football and came to play and win things.

"I want to thank the manager for having the confidence in me to play and the only thing I have to do is work hard in training and games that I can perform and happy to be here and will give everything to Bani Yas.”

The 28-year-old admits he knows little about football in the UAE, but says it was an easy decision to pursue a new chapter in the AGL.

A great deal of that is because of Bani Yas’ former Levante and Getafe boss Luis Garcia, who Drenthe recalls from his days in La Liga. 

“My agent said that it would be a good thing to come here because it’s new life and a good way to demonstrate your quality. It was a good decision and when I spoke to the manager, he gave me a good feeling and it was not a difficult decision.

“Both of us can speak Spanish so the communication is really good. But when I signed for Real Madrid in 2007, my coach was a managing in the Spanish leagues but that was not my reason why I came here. 

“He gave me a lot of confidence and was really straight with me. I love that and I am only looking to the future right now and I want to give this man 130 per cent.”

Drenthe, who has been handed the Al Samawi No7 shirt, added: “I could have chosen No8 because that was the number when Netherlands won the Under-21 European Championships, but I wanted to have a number which I never had before. Hopefully with No7, I can perform like Cristiano Ronaldo.”