In a revealing interview with the Daily Mail, Patrick van Aanholt revealed that he came very close to quitting professional football after a disastrous loan spell with Wigan in which he lost focus and stopped training properly.

  • By George Smith
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After signing with Chelsea from PSV as a highly rated youth player, the Dutchman went out on loan to five different clubs over a six-year period, Wigan being the fourth. A return to the Eredivisie on loan with Vitesse Arnhem between 2012-2014 following his nightmare spell with Wigan was the only chance for van Aanholt to play frequently, and he returned to London ready to sever his ties with the Blues.

On his loan with Wigan, van Aanholt said, “One of the worst loans of my life. It was partly the manager, but a little bit me.

“Obviously when you go on loan from Chelsea you expect to play. I was really thinking about quitting football. I was that upset, I wanted to stop.

“I went on holiday with my missus at the time and said, ‘What am I going to do now? No club is going to want me because I haven’t played for a year’. I was very close. At the time my mentality was wrong, I’m not going to lie.

“I thought, ‘F*** it, I’m not going to train. I didn’t want to play in the reserves. It was the wrong attitude. I could have trained for myself, so when I got the chance I was ready. I didn’t do that. I was just training and going home.

“That was just a waste of time. That’s why Wigan is a closed book.”

Fast forward to the present and the 28-year-old left back is a regular starter for Premier League outfit Crystal Palace and made the Dutch squad for the UEFA Nations League. Where next remains a mystery, but van Aanholt is not short on confidence, coyly remarking: ‘If you don’t have ambitions then you’re not a football player.’

George Smith (33 Posts)