There is nothing like returning home after a long day or sometimes even a holiday, for Vitesse striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel after a sabbatical of seven years it has proven to be a welcome return.
Van Wolfswinkel arrived in Arnhem aged just ten years old, as he rose through the junior ranks his goal scoring prowess earned him plaudits and awards. In April 2008 he made his first team debut all be it for just five minutes. Following a year in the first team during 2008-09 season with a tally of eight goals Van Wolfswinkel departed for Eredivisie rivals FC Utrecht.
What followed over the next four years with Utrecht and then Sporting Lisbon could be considered halcyon days for the striker. For both clubs the slightly built attacker made 111 appearances scoring 54 goals, this fine goal scoring form grabbed the attentions of then Dutch national coach Bert van Marwijk. Van Marwijk handed Van Wolfswinkel his debut for the national side in August 2010 in a friendly against Ukraine. Things seem to be perfect for the Woudenberg born attacker, just missing out on a Portuguese title with Lisbon, playing European football combined to attract the attentions of Europe’s bigger leagues.
On 22 March 2013, it was announced that Van Wolfswinkel had agreed a deal to join English club Norwich City for the 2013–14 season, a transfer thought to be worth £8.5 million, plus up to £2 million in bonuses. A four year contract signed, a goal on his debut against Everton it seemed the world was at his feet.
What followed was four years of turmoil as Van Wolfswinkel fell foul of the physicality of the premier league and a defensive minded coach at Carrow Road. Loan spells at French club St. Etienne and the in Spain with Real Betis failed to rekindle the Dutchman’s form or secure a permanent move away from East Anglia. Norwich City’s relegation from the premier league coupled with his wage package meant despite the situation was untenable for both parties; Norwich decided to cut their losses and accepted an offer from Ricky’s former club and a return to where it all began this past summer.
So far this season he has scored nine goals despite the clubs stuttering form he has finally found his feet and his smile. Comments recently in the media concerning moving away from Arnhem maybe not the wisest and it will be interesting to see who would take another gamble on him.
But as things stand it seems from both club and player’s point of view there is “No place like home”