Everton’s under-23s took on Chester City in a friendly this week. The Everton youngsters picked up the win, scoring four goals in the second half to win 4-2. But there was also an interesting subplot to this game. Chester have recently secured the services of 22-year-old attacking midfielder George Green. His name will no doubt sound familiar to Everton fans as he was once one of the club’s star young talents.
Unfortunately, Green was not quite fit to play against his former team and some former team-mates in the likes of Tyias Browning and Harry Charsley. But his presence still resonated and Everton fans must wonder what happened to the talented playmaker.
Back in 2014, he was being compared to the likes of Paul Gascoigne and Wayne Rooney in playing style and potential.
But, just one year later, Everton released him. What came next was a series of short stays with the likes of Oldham, Ossett Albion, Burnley and Viking. Loan stints at Kilmarnock and Salford were also unsuccessful.
What nobody knew were the troubles Green was suffering off the pitch. In a wide-ranging interview with the Daily Mail earlier this year Green spoke of why his career took such a dark turn. He revealed battles with depression and addiction. During his time at Salford, he tried to take his own life.
It is a sad tale of a human being whose personal demons got the better of him.
“People aren’t going to be worried about my talent but they need to know I’m in it for the long haul. I believe now if someone were to offer me a longer deal, I’d see it out. Not like the old George Green. I’ll need support. I know that. That’s a lifelong process. But I still believe in myself.
“I’m well. I know now I can go on to do good things in football.”
Everton fans will no doubt be saddened by his troubles. But the good news is clear. Green looks fitter and fresher than ever. He worked well at Nuneaton on a short-term deal last season and has committed himself to Chester City for two seasons.
It appears he has managed to find the balance necessary to finally play some of his best football. Green, at just 22, could still have a wonderful career in the game and hopefully, his personal demons can remain manageable.
Everton fans will no doubt wish their former talent all the best.