Things just do not seem to be getting better for Everton midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin. After making yet another return from another long-term injury that has marred his two-year stay at the club, he has been missing in action after being seen on the bench for the win over Burnley on 13th September.
Gbamin has been fined £25,000 and banned from driving for a 14-month period after causing an accident at 5am on August 8th. When the authorities arrived on the scene, the player was found to have 52 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres, with the legal limit at 35mg/100ml. [Daily Mail]
In a pre-match press conference recently, Rafa Benitez had indicated that the player had picked up a minor injury, but it now it’s starting look like Gbamin might actually have been suspended by the club pending the hearing at the Manchester Magistrates’ Court.
After the smash the player had indicated that he’d had just one drink, and during the trial his defence lawyer shed more light on the circumstances.
“I ask that you keep the disqualification period to a minimum and what may allow you to do that is his guilty plea. He is absolutely devastated to be here.
“This isn’t his home country. He was born in the Ivory Coast and is a professional footballer. There is some press attention, causing him more embarrassment. Whatever happens here, he will be fined by the club as well.
“What happened at 5am that morning was that he had been out earlier. He had had some sleep but in the early hours, he was asked if he could take someone home. Because he had some sleep, and he felt okay to drive, he got into that vehicle. That was a huge mistake. It was a huge misjudgment.
“He has been injured for nearly two years. He signed two years ago for Everton but has only played nearly two games, then got injured. He’s lived in the UK with very little in terms of friends and support although that’s not an excuse for finding himself here.
“He was asked to stay at the scene by the other driver and the damage to the vehicle was very, very limited - it was paintwork. That will all be settled by the insurance and he gave his details.
“He has a child who is 15 months old, a son and his family are in France and Germany. He does charity work and some of his income he gives to charity, to African nurseries in the Ivory Coast. His net income is £25,000 a week after tax.”
When asked if he had anything to say, Gbamin was brief but contrite.
“I think my lawyer has said everything. I am sorry.”
Hopefully Gbamin can get over this latest hurdle in his Everton career and make a return to the pitch for Everton whose bare-bones squad continues to get tested with injuries in recent weeks.