Drinkwater retires from football

Grace Ihesiulo
4 Min Read
Danny Drinkwater

Former Chelsea midfielder, Danny Drinkwater, on Monday announced his retirement from football after admitting he had been “in limbo” too long.

Drinkwater was a regular in the Leicester City team that stunningly won the Premier League in 2016 but he moved to Chelsea a year later.

The English midfielder failed to establish himself at Chelsea and was sent for unsuccessful loan spells at Burnley and Aston Villa.

Speaking on The High-Performance Podcast, Drinkwater said: “It’s been a long time coming maybe, especially with the last year, but I think it’s time to officially announce it now.

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“I think I have been in limbo for too long. I have been wanting to play but not getting the opportunity to play at a standard or a level where I felt valued.

“I’m happy not playing football but I’m happy playing football, so do I just shake hands with the sport?”

Meanwhile, The former midfielder was part of Leicester City’s famous Premier League title winners in 2015/16 before joining Chelsea in the summer of 2017 for a fee of £35m.

Drinkwater would make 22 appearances across an injury-hit debut season and would play his final 30 minutes in a Chelsea shirt during the 2018/19 Community Shield, before he was frozen out of the first-team picture altogether.

After spending a whole season on the sidelines, Drinkwater joined Burnley on loan in August 2019 but would play just twice before a January switch to Aston Villa, where he would make a further four appearances before returning to parent side Chelsea at the end of the campaign.

Loans with Turkish side Kasimpasa and Championship outfit Reading followed before Drinkwater was ultimately released from his Chelsea contract in 2022, and he would search for a new club for the next 12 months before ultimately announcing his retirement on The High Performance Podcast.

“As a whole it was obviously garbage but if you break it down I had some unbelievable times there,” he reflected on his time at Chelsea. “Not unbelievable, but really good.

“The first season was a bit tricky. I picked up a few niggly injuries – it’s just part of football, really. I was on it. I was dying to get going. It was never the fee that bothered me, that was separate. It was more ‘I need to prove myself now. I’ve ticked a box by getting back to a top four [club] and now I need to stay there and prove to myself, not anyone else, it’s myself now’.

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“At the end of that season with Chelsea, I had this one moment that disappointed massively. I can’t say too much but hopefully in the future it’s going to get solved. That summer, after that, I was like ‘I need to go, this just isn’t for me, it’s not really worked from the get-go and then this has happened, so I could do with going, this isn’t going to get any better’.

“I remember in that first season, I bought a big house to move all my family down and have a good go of it, but I was ready to just forget about that and go where I needed to get just so my career would not go the way it’s gone. I was trying to leave that first window.”

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