Birmingham City goalkeeper John Ruddy during the Sky Bet Championship match at St. Andrew's, Birmingham. Picture date: Saturday September 2, 2023.

7 former Everton players we can’t believe are still playing in 2023

Everton have had several different managers in recent years and that means a big turnover in players hoping to revitalise the club’s fortunes. It also means a load of former Toffees are still playing football years after leaving Goodison Park.

Some are still going who we know of; Romelu Lukaku now plays for Roma, Ross Barkley is at Luton and Eric Dier, who once had a season on loan at Goodison Park, is still on Tottenham’s books.

But here are seven former Blues from over the years you might now have known are still plying their trade in 2023.

Oumar Niasse

Niasse cost the Toffees £13.5million when he joined from Lokomotiv Moscow on January transfer deadline day in 2016.

Yet the forward struggled to have any sort of impact at Goodison Park, with Ronald Koeman even denying him a dressing room locker in an attempt to force him out of the club.

He was released four-and-a-half years later, having had loan spells at Hull and Cardiff respectively. Spells at Huddersfield and Burton Albion were brief, and Niasse even trained with 10th-tier side West Didsbury & Chorlton in an attempt to maintain fitness.

Having seemingly fallen in love with the north-west, the 33-year-old most recently helped Morecambe to avoid relegation from League One.

Aiden McGeady

After being an integral part of everyone’s cheap, overpowered Russian League teams in FIFA 13, McGeady joined Everton in January 2014

He came with high expectations, but couldn’t quite make his mark in the first team and barely made appearances after 2016. His last Ireland cap came a year later.

Since leaving Goodison, McGeady has played for Sunderland, Charlton and Hibs before moving to Ayr United this summer. At the age of 37, the winger will be strutting his stuff in the Scottish Championship in 2023-24.

Jack Rodwell

Forget that his career went pear-shaped after leaving for Manchester City in 2012, Rodwell was previously one of English football’s biggest prospects and shone at Everton.

After becoming the youngest player in Everton history when making his debut aged 16 years and 284 days in December 2007, the midfielder was a crowd favourite at Goodison for his tough-tackling and relentless energy.

After his brief spell at City, and time at Sunderland and Blackburn, the midfielder moved to Australia to sign for Western Sydney Wanderers in 2021.

But after just playing just 14 games all season, he was brutally released and it looked like it might be time for the 31-year-old to call it a day.

After two weeks on trial with local rivals Sydney FC in August 2022, though, Rodwell was handed another chance.

Sydney manager Steve Corica said: “I expect him to get even better this season; he is still in his peak years as a footballer and can excel in various positions.”

And Rodwell seems to be making a better fist of things at his second Australian club, making 13 appearances in last season’s A-League.

John Ruddy

Ruddy’s one appearance for Everton came in February 2006 in strange circumstances, coming on after nine minutes as Iain Turner was sent off and the Toffees’ first and second goalkeepers were both already injured. He kept a clean sheet in a 1-0 win over Blackburn.

Since then, Ruddy became a Premier League stalwart at Norwich and won his only England cap in May 2012. Spells at Wolves and Birmingham followed and Ruddy is still first choice at the latter at the age of 36.

Eliaquim Mangala

Mangala joined Everton on loan from Manchester City in January 2018. But, in just the second game into his spell, he suffered a knee injury against Crystal Palace which ruled him out for the rest of the season.

The eight-cap France international spent two campaigns at Valencia, but managed only 25 outings before leaving the club on a free transfer. Five months at Saint Etienne wasn’t enough to prevent the famous French side from getting relegated in 2022.

Still only 32, but a throwback to a bygone era, Mangala is now turning out for Estoril in Portugal’s Primeira Liga.

Magaye Gueye

Gueye didn’t have the most illustrious career at Everton, making just a handful of appearances across four years on Merseyside between 2010 and 2014.

The forward scored just one goal for the side in a 4-0 win against Sunderland in 2012, a match in which he also made two assists, before returning to invisible mediocrity immediately afterwards.

After leaving in 2014, Gueye bounced around clubs and ended up playing for Dinamo Bucharest last season, but following a drug test after the Bucharest derby in March 2021, it emerged Gueye had allegedly used cocaine and was promptly fired by the Romanian side.

Now 33, he’s playing in the Greek second tier with Anagennisi Karditsa. We can think of worse places to wind down your career.

Royston Drenthe

English fans will probably remember Drenthe as one of Everton’s many, many failed transfer punts, but the winger was once considered one of Europe’s most exciting young players.

In his single season at Goodison Park, Drenthe scored four times in 27 appearances and was left out of the squad on more than one occasion for poor discipline and attitude around the club.

Now in his mid-30s, Drenthe is back in the Netherlands and turning out for Kozakken Boys. The side competes in Tweede Divisie, the highest amateur league of Dutch football.

READ NEXT: Recalling when Everton crushed Man Utd’s title hopes in a 4-4 thriller

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name Everton’s top PL goalscorer for every initial?