I guess I have a generic opinion too then, as for me in the first 8 games or so he played he was nowhere near the player he became even later that season. Maybe you wouldn't count that as the whole season but I don't think he game out of the gates that strong, probably due to the knock his confidence took in Germany.
Its common sense that you expect a learning curve for any player, maybe you don't count that as "struggling" but there is something to it.
Have a read of this...
Amidst a period of increasing panic among Evertonians in the summer of 2007 as a weakened, threadbare squad remained virtually untouched as a European campaign loomed, David Moyes moved quietly to secure the services of Steven Pienaar.
An established South African international, Pienaar arrived on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund after failing the daunting task of filling the considerable shoes of Tomas Rosicky.
It wasn't hard to see why the German club thought they had captured a gem — Pienaar had been groomed at the bastion of footballing excellence, Ajax Amsterdam. But he struggled to find his feet in the Bundesliga and was deemed surplus to requirements.
Chiefly regarded as a central midfielder he was used to act as “link” player before Sneijder took over that position at Ajax. And although it's believed that he dislikes playing on the wing, it was wide left where he established himself at Everton, rapidly warming to life at Goodison Park.
By October, it was clear that Moyes had pulled off another transfer masterstroke. With his quick movement, speed of thought and willingness to make things happen, Pienaar was one of the stars of an Everton side that went unbeaten for 13 games in all competitions, moved into the Carling Cup semi-finals, the latter stages of the Uefa Cup and the European qualification slots of the Premier League by Christmas.
Such was his impact that when his senseless trip on Ryan Giggs three minutes from the end of a hard-fought game at Old Trafford handed Manchester United victory when Cristiano Ronaldo scored from the spot, few could come down too hard on him. His contribution to the side up to that point had been enormous.
There was a predictable clamour for Moyes to make his loan move permanent in the January 2008 transfer window but the manager, presumably safe in the knowledge that he could sign him for £2.5m at season's end per the original terms of the loan, insisted that he would use the rest of the campaign to assess the South African.
As if further evidence of his importance to the team were needed, Moyes tried to eke out every last minute of playing time from Pienaar before he left for African Nations Cup duty that month and announced his intention to include him in the League Cup semi-semi at Chelsea.
That threatened to land both Everton and the player in trouble with the Safa and Fifa who made no bones of the fact that regulations state that participating players must report for duty 14 days from the start of the tournament — in this case, 12 days away — and not from the country's first game — in South Africa's case, 15 days away.
In the end, Everton had to concede defeat, both in that club-versus-country battle and, minus Pienaar, the semi-final itself. But the young South African was signed up a while after he returned on a permanent 3-year contract.
But he was to miss the first six weeks of the new season with a broken toe sustained in the last pre-season friendly, against PSV. When he finally appeared, it was clear he had the skills and the flair so sadly lacking among most of the Everton team. But his strenuous efforts rarely produced anything of real note in terms of end product, despite catching the eye.
Nevertheless, he combined well with Baines to form a good partnership down the left side. Towards the end of his second season, it looked like the promise he brought to the team may finally bear fruit.
Indeed, going into the following 2009-10 season, Everton needed to rely even more on Pienaar as the creative spark in Arteta's long continuing absence. But an ugly knee injury, inflicted by his compatriot and South African team captain Mokoena in a league game at Portsmouth put him out for two months in which Everton managed only one win.
By Michael Kenrick and Lyndon Lloyd
Last updated December 2009