Midfielder Zoltan Gera was an exceptional servant to the Hungarian national team and the two sides he represented whilst he was in England.
First arriving at West Bromwich Albion in 2004 in a £1.5m deal, he suffered relegation in his maiden season at The Hawthorns, but this was no reflection of his performances as he managed to get on the scoresheet six times in 38 Premier League appearances under Gary Megson and Bryan Robson.
This campaign set the tone for the remainder of his first spell in the West Midlands, spending three further seasons with the Baggies and managing to guide them to the second-tier title in his last, registering an exceptional 15 goalscoring contributions in 2007/08 but opting not to extend his stay.
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He signed for top-tier rivals Fulham instead, and though he remained an important Premier League player at Craven Cottage during his time there between 2008 and 2011, it was his six goals and four assists in the Cottagers’ 2010 Europa League campaign that led the English outfit to the final in Hamburg and made him a fan favourite.
Although they eventually lost out to Atletico Madrid in a 2-1 defeat, the Hungarian did grab the assist for Simon Davies’ equaliser to give Fulham a real chance of taking the trophy back to London.
Despite making 27 league appearances the following season, he was released during the summer of 2011 and re-joined the Baggies for three years, but failed to make the same impact he did in his first spell and was let go on the expiration of his contract in 2014.
Perhaps fittingly, he arrived back in Hungary to sign for Ferencvaros, the team who initially let him go to West Brom in 2004, and was a regular there until the 2017/18 season which proved to be his last campaign playing professional football.
He has since spent time as the assistant manager of the Hungarian national team and coaching at Ferencvaros, but left both roles in 2019 to take up the post as Hungary Under-21’s manager and remains in that post in the present day.
His most recent match in charge was against San Marino’s Under-21s, with Gera’s side taking a comfortable 4-0 away win and for those who want to know more about his managerial style, he seems to be partial to the 4-2-3-1 formation.
You could bet anything he would want to be back playing football in that advanced midfield role, but he will now be focused on bringing through the next generation, something he will be eager to do after seeing the senior national team battle bravely in their Euro 2020 group of death against France, Germany and Portugal a few months ago.
After seeing the 42-year-old thrive in his playing career, the European nation will be placing their full faith in him to deliver. Their future success will depend on it.