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Green: A Promising Evertonian's Career Gone To Waste

Forward opens up about hitting the lowest point

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Everton paid the sum of  £300,000 (rising to £2 million based on performance bonuses) to then Football League Two side Bradford City in October 2011 for attacker George Green. The attacker came in well-heralded and was often dubbed as the Next Wayne Rooney, though that moniker is bandied about for just about any young forward nowadays. Rumor had it that the Blues snapped up the player with competition from Tottenham Hotspur and German giants, Bayern Munich no less.

Archie Christie, head at football development at Bradford at the time, was thrilled for his player -

"This is one of the highest deals ever for a 15-year-old from a League Two club. But George is the best I've seen in his position at his age. He could become another Wayne Rooney or Paul Gascoigne."

Everton's Academy director Alan Irvine was a little less excited and commented -

"He has got good potential but at the moment that's all it is. He has got a lot of work to do.

"George is a young player who was attracting interest from a number of clubs. We're happy to have him and we're looking forward to working with him here at the Academy."

And so it was, four or so years later, Everton ended up releasing the player this last summer on a free transfer and the player's unfortunate fall from grace was complete.

Green spoke with the media this week in an attempt to clear up where things went awry for him, and even mentioned that he contemplated suicide multiple times on his journey.

When we look at shining stars like John Stones who have blazed their way to the national spotlight, what happened to George Green should serve as a cautionary tale as to how quickly lives go south when young sportsmen and women are suddenly exposed to ridiculous sums of money.

"It was nothing to do with drink or drugs.

"I suffered really badly when things started going wrong on the pitch. I wanted to take my life a few times. There were a couple of bad stints but now I've come out of them stronger.

"I was expected to make the first team at 16 and then win an England call-up. But if you have one bad game then you start having people question you and asking why you aren't progressing. It did all get too much because I was only doing the best that I could."

Green says Everton did all they could to have helped him through his darkest days, a period in which he went to see a psychologist, but he rejected their offer of help.

"They did everything they could but unfortunately I threw it back in their faces. Everton knew I had ability but they wanted to see that I could be more professional and unfortunately I didn't show that.

"I was sent to see a psychologist to get my head right but he didn't really help. He gave me some tablets which I didn't take because I didn't want to be known as someone who needed that to feel right. It all hit me at once. I pushed away all my friends and family because you don't realise they are there to help."

The teenage forward was tipped for first-team stardom at Goodison but struggled to hold down a place in the under-21s side and Green admits he cut corners and then struggled to deal with the setback of injuries.

Everton paid Green a £45,000 signing-on fee, and he was earning more than £4,000 a month at the time.

"It went straight to my head. I just went out and blew the signing-on fee.

"You're earning thousands of pounds a week and you get more leeway than other players. You don't want to take liberties but I took more than one.

"I wasn't going into training because I thought I was better than everyone else. Being an idiot. Being an absolute idiot, if I'm honest. I wasn't turning up sometimes because I wasn't enjoying it and I thought I could do what I wanted.

"When I did go in, I was training absolute shite. When you're playing at that standard you can't do that. It's a better game than that."

The player went to League One's Oldham Athletic after the summer, but left in November by mutual consent after playing just thrice. He is currently still in football, making £75-a-week playing for Evo-Stik First Division North side Ossett Albion.

We wish Green well, and here's hoping all the best for him as he attempts to rebuild his life.