One time £5 million-rated Chelsea target and England under-21 moves to MLS for free

Hearts Warm Up

Once the subject of an international tug-of-war between England and Scotland and interest from the likes of Burnley, Wigan, FC Twente and Chelsea how has the his career path of Andre Driver led him to the States?

Hearts have allowed Andrew Driver to move on loan to Houston Dynamo of the MLS with a view to making the move permanent when his contract expires at the end of the season.

He was once one of England’s most sought after talents on more than one front. Andrew Driver of Hearts is the player in question. The direct left-winger had caught the eye at the Edinburgh club for his positive style and was a major factor in the clubs continual efforts as Scotland’s ‘third club’.

It resulted in Burnley making an approach for the player that was flat-out rejected as well as Coventry City’s £1 million bid in 2009. In 2010 Burnley reignited their interest while the likes of Wigan Athletic and Middlesbrough were also said to be interested.

Even FC Twente of Holland’s Eredivisie confirmed they had made a bid of £3 million for the winger in 2010.

But the biggest interest during that time came from Chelsea. Roman Abramovich reportedly met with Vladimir Romanov to discuss a possible £5 million transfer for the player in order to boost the clubs home-grown player quota. Nothing ever came of the deal and that could have been down to what was starting to become a worrying tendency to get injured.

A thigh problem followed knee surgery in November 2010 and his knee once again needed to be operated on in May 2011.

On his return to action any hope of making a name for himself once again and proving his fitness were made all the more difficult by the clubs then manager Paulo Sergio who simply didn’t fancy Driver.

He has since fought his way back to form and fitness and this season was looking like being his best return since the 2008-09 campaign as he has already played in 28 games to that seasons total of 31.

It wasn’t just club teams that fought over Driver. England and Scotland both wanted him to choose their respective nation as the country he would represent. The Oldham-born winger had been a Scotland schoolboy before playing for the England under-21’s for the one and only time in 2009.

Even after announcing his intention to play for Scotland it was announced he was not actually eligible; before a successful appeal to FIFA saw him finally being declared able to represent the Tartan Army.

So far how injury problems have prevented that from happening and now he is set to embark on a new challenge in his career; in the MLS.

Driver has signed a loan-deal at Houston Dynamo which will become permanent when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Injury has certainly taking its toll on this promising career but at just 25-years-old there is still plenty of time for him to get back to his previous best and maybe one day achieve his goal of playing for Scotland.

image: © daniel.richardson0685

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