David Meyler certainly made the most of his talents. He is a player who was never the most naturally gifted of footballers, but he would go on to forge a career that the vast majority of Irish players would be envious of.
He played in the Premier League for a number of seasons, played in an FA Cup final, and captained his country. Not bad going. Unfortunately, his career would cut short at the age of 30 due to a persistent knee problem.
Meyler has no shortage of things to keep him busy in retirement. He is a coach with the Ireland U17s, as well as running one of the most successful FIFA channels on Youtube.
He appeared on The Late Late Show last night where Ryan Tubridy asked him to discuss the surreal lifestyle of a Premier League footballer. With men in their early 20s earning remarkable sums of money, it is unsurprising that things can get out of hand at times.
Meyler said it was difficult to explain what it was like being part of that world, but admitted he had seen some mad things:
It’s very hard to explain. I’ve seen players come in on a Tuesday morning for training, then go out and buy a new £100,000 car after training because they don’t like their car anymore. How can you explain that to someone?
Some players earn excessive amounts of money and throw it around like it’s nothing. Not everyone is like that, don’t get me wrong, but there are certain individuals who are.
It’s almost as if it’s Hollywood the way it is.
The Cork native was not immune to such lavish purchases himself. When asked about his love for cars, he admitted that he splashed out on three separate motors early on in his career.
The former Hull player said that he can still be a bit preoccupied by money on some occasions, but his father John has a way of keeping his feet on the ground.
You’ve done your research! I had an Audi A3, a BMW M3, and I had a Land Rover. Look, you’re young, you get money and make mistakes.
It was a mistake, 100 per cent! I often say to my Dad, ‘I’d love to win the lottery.’
He said ‘why? You can only sleep in one bed, you can only drive one car, you can only live in one house.’ I’m like ok Dad I don’t want to win the lottery!
In his role as a coach with the Ireland U17s, he will have a part to play in moulding the next generation of Irish talent. Meyler was in their position once upon a time.
The game has certainly changed, even since his breakthrough at Sunderland just over a decade ago. While he had to learn how to manage his new financial pedigree at that time, young players coming into the game now are even more privileged.
Some are earning incredible amounts of money as soon as they enter adulthood, having done very little in the sport:
It’s hard when you’re young and start earning money, then as you progress, you become successful and earn more money. You’re like what do I do with it?
I’ve been clever with my money, I have wasted some money. But nowadays some of the young fellas I know are earning, £20,000, £30,000, £40,000 a week and they’re 18 or 19-years old.
How do you control that? Some of the people in the audience, their son might be doing the leaving cert. If you think about someone the equivalent in football earning that sort of money, and how hard it is to control your own son never mind a footballer.