When Maarten Stekelenburg left Everton in the summer to return to Ajax, he did so knowing his career was coming to an end.

It was something the goalkeeper admitted himself, revealing he was going back to the Netherlands for his family, having spent the last nine years playing elsewhere in Europe.

The 38-year-old knew he was returning to his former club as a backup to Andre Onana and was likely to spend most of the season sat on the bench.

Football, though, is a funny old game and with Onana recently banned for a year by FIFA after mistakenly taking medication prescribed to his wife, Stekelenburg has been forced to step up.

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He now finds himself as Ajax’s number one once again, with six appearances to his name in all competitions so far, meaning his decision to leave Everton has been fully justified.

And former teammate Urby Emanuelson believes it is something he should be praised for, given he could have easily stayed at Goodison Park.

“What could have been easier for Maarten Stekelenburg to end his career after his time at Everton, where he has not played in recent years?” he told Het Parool, relayed by Ajax Showtime. 

“He didn’t, and now look where he stands.

“He plays in the Europa League and still has a great record to his name: that of the oldest Ajax player of all time in the Eredivisie.”