Ex-Swansea City skipper Leroy Fer lifts lid on family pain, his failed £10m move to Everton and what left him annoyed at Arsenal
The former Swansea midfielder has opened up in a candid interview with one of his former team-matesby Tom Coleman
Former Swansea City captain Leroy Fer admits that a failed move to Everton was one of the lowest points of his career.
However, he insists his stint with the Swans remains the highlight of his time in English football.
Fer, who returned to Dutch giants Feyenoord during the summer, has had plenty of time to reflect on his time on these shores, and it's clear that life with the Swans has left a positive impression.
Speaking to former Swans teammate Kenji Gorre on the Konversations with Kenji podcast, Fer said: "My time in England, I enjoyed my time with Swansea the most, it's where I stayed the longest - three-and-a-half years.
"I played with some good football players and I learned a lot there."
Fer initially arrived on loan in the second half of the 2015/16 season and, having already been relegated with Norwich and QPR, it took some time for him to really make his mark.
And there were times where Fer admits he was left frustrated at boss Franceso Guidolin, who'd not long been at the club himself.
Casting his mind back to a double-header in London shortly after his arrival, he recalled: "I was on the bench for the first two games.
"We played Tottenham first and I came on and I played all right. I came on for 15 minutes. Then we played Arsenal away and we won 2-1.
"I played 75 minutes because at QPR I wasn't really performing that well.
"So they really took a hard decision and I was also playing in the Championship. So, the first games I didn't play.
"Arsenal away we won 2-1. Then the next game against Norwich, also my old team, he put me on the bench again!
"I was just thinking 'we just won at Arsenal away and now you're putting me on the bench for Norwich at home. Come on. Are you taking the p***?'
"I came on for that game. And gave Gylfi (Sigurdsson) the assist and we won 1-0. After we won that game he didn't take me out anymore."
In the candid interview, Fer admits he's had his fair share of problems off the pitch too, with the 30-year-old opening up on how the demands of his career prevented him from attending his grandfather's funeral.
"There's been some difficult times through my life," he added.
"I think losing my grandfather, which was nearly five years ago was really tough for me. I couldn't be there at his funeral. My whole family was there and those kind of things are related to your work.
"At that point, the funeral was in Curacao and of course, family is the most important thing in your life. It was a doubt for me if I was going or not but my family helped me focus on football.
"They said 'We're here. In the name of you. So you can just focus on what you have to do. Make us proud. Make him proud. Keep going'.
"I grieved on my own."
Fer admits his family have played a huge role in supporting him throughout his career, which by this point had already handed him some difficult times.
Before his eventual arrival in England came the desperate disappointment of a failed move to Everton, who came knocking after Fer had impressed at FC Twente and had even earned himself an international cap.
"They came in for me, January, 2013, I think," he explained.
"They came in and it was going to be a big move, £10m going to Everton, but I had an injury just before that so I failed my medical.
"That was also something that's very hard for me because Everton are a big team in England. They had big players like Pienaar, Fellaini, Coleman, Osman.
"That was the moment in my career that was maybe the hardest.
"You set your goal to go to the Prem, from making my debut, I said to my family it was my dream.
"I had to go back to Twente and my mind was not really in it. The last few months there were horrible."
Fer seems at ease with how things have panned out since, and admits his insistence on staying upbeat in the face of adversity has helped drag him through such tough times.
"I'm a guy that tries to absorb positivity," he added. "I don't like to stay in a negative feeling or negative thoughts.
"I try to stay positive. From that I get energy and power. You hardly see me angry or really p***** off.
"There are people in the world who have it far worse than we are. We're blessed and we're doing the thing we like to do, playing football, as our job."