THE FA have revealed former Cardiff winger Nathaniel Mendez-Laing served a three-month ban after testing positive for cocaine.
Mendez-Laing’s September departure from the Bluebirds was shrouded in mystery after he was only said to have ”breached his contract”.
The 28-year-old re-emerged at the start of this month when it was announced he had signed for former Cardiff chief Neil Warnock at Championship rivals Middlesbrough on a free transfer.
But now the FA have stated Mendez-Laing tested positive for the banned drug after the 1-0 win at Bristol City on July 4., in which he played the first 66 minutes.
The B-sample confirmed the result the following month.
Mendez-Laing, who was suspended from August 14 pending the process, told an FA commission he had taken the drug the night before his positive sample – meaning it is considered an “out of competition” breach under UK anti doping regulations.
The wideman, in line for his Boro debut at Derby on Saturday, said: “With the help of my family, close friends, my agent, and the PFA during this extremely difficult time, I have been able to overcome my personal hurdles.
“I now want to leave that period of my life in the past where it belongs. I'm excited about the future and delighted to be back doing what I love."
And when signing Mendez-Laing on February 1, Boro chief Warnock suggested he trusted the player to overcome personal issues.
Warnock said at the time: "I think we all make mistakes. I’ve known him for a long time – I brought him up from Rochdale.
“I haven’t got a problem with all of that… there were one or two other clubs after him, and I told both him and his man (agent) he was better off coming with me because of his circumstances.
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"He has to get his career back on line, really. I know the boy, I’ve had him three years, and there were ups and downs during that time.
"Sometimes, you get in a situation like Mendez has got in. To be on a few hundred pounds a week, and then suddenly become a Premier League player on thousands and thousands in the space of 18 months, it’s a big step up.
“I think the PFA have to pay attention to these type of lads, because they need help. Managers can’t look after every player. "
At the time of Mendez-Laing's shock Cardiff departure, the Bluebirds made just a short, blunt statement.
They said: “Cardiff City Football Club has, with immediate effect, terminated the contract of Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
“The Club will not be making any further comment on the matter.”
He began his career with Wolves, before spells with Peterborough and Rochdale.
After joining Cardiff in 2017,he notched 14 goals in 92 games.
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