Former Leicester and Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater has officially announced his retirement from professional football on Monday, acknowledging that he had been stuck in a state of uncertainty for too long.
Drinkwater, who played a key role in Leicester’s historic Premier League victory in 2016, moved to Chelsea a year later. However, he struggled to secure a place at Stamford Bridge and endured unsuccessful loan spells at Burnley and Aston Villa while his off-field issues multiplied.
The 33-year-old faced legal troubles after pleading guilty to a drink-driving incident in 2019, and he also suffered an ankle injury outside a nightclub later that same year. In 2020, he was involved in a training ground incident where he head-butted his Villa teammate, Jota.
Drinkwater’s most recent appearances were while on loan at Reading during the 2021-22 season, and he has remained without a club since his Chelsea contract expired at the conclusion of that season.
Speaking on The High Performance Podcast, he 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.
“I think I’ve been in limbo for too long. I’ve 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?”
Capped three times by England, Drinkwater was a graduate of Manchester United’s youth academy but did not make a senior appearance for the Old Trafford club before joining Leicester in 2012.
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“It’s all I’ve known. It’s been my life since I was six, seven years old. It was never going to be an easy thing,” he said.
“If I was playing week in, week out and I had to say I’ve got to stop, maybe through injury or through just age, not being able to get about the pitch like I’d like to, I think it would be trickier.”
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