Danny Drinkwater on his Chelsea nightmare: 'I wasted some of my best years' |  football news

Danny Drinkwater on his Chelsea nightmare: ‘I wasted some of my best years’ | football news

Danny Drinkwater says he’s relieved his Chelsea nightmare is finally over after admitting he’s wasted some of his best years as a footballer.

The 32-year-old, who was a key figure in Leicester City’s title-winning side in 2015/16, joined Chelsea for £35m in 2017, signing a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge.

However, the move didn’t work for Drinkwater, who stayed on the sidelines for most of Chelsea’s career and stalled his career. He made just 23 appearances for the club, scoring just one goal.

Those difficulties are now over for Drinkwater, who was sacked by Chelsea this summer and speaks to him exclusively Sky sports newsthe former England international is just glad he can now look forward to getting his career back on track.

“I’m relieved because it’s clear it wasn’t a good situation for me or for the club,” Drinkwater replied when asked about his Chelsea exit.

“I’m angry at how it went and how I was treated – but not bitter about what ifs. It took a long time.”

I can’t blame the club. And up to a point, I can’t even blame myself. There’s more I could have done, but there are a lot of ifs. I don’t think anyone is to blame.

Danny Drinkwater on problems with Chelsea

Drinkwater and Sarri clash on Deadline Day

Drinkwater’s turbulent time at Stamford Bridge was perhaps best embodied by an exchange with then-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri in the 11th hour of the 2018 summer transfer window.

Through an acting translator and assistant manager, Gianfranco Zola, Sarri somewhat unceremoniously told the midfielder he was not part of his plans, giving Drinkwater an hour to find a new club.

“It’s the last hour of the transfer window and [I] was dragged into the office, not expected at all,” explains Drinkwater. “‘Don’t think you’ll be in our plans. This is Sarri translated by Gianfranco. And I was like ‘what?’

“Sarri and I got along like a house on fire from the pitch. We were like chalk and cheese on the pitch. I thought, ‘Why are you telling me now? An hour before the window closes? I need time’. He replied: “No, no, we have clubs abroad for you to check out…”

“My reaction was, ‘No, I have my little son. He’s my priority’. So I decided to stay until January.”

Drinkwater was a key player for Leicester's 2016 title-winning side
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Drinkwater was a key player in Leicester’s 2016 title winners

When asked if he feels like he’s wasted the best five years of his career, Drinkwater added, “Yeah, it feels like, ‘What did you throw away those five years?’

“If you had stayed at Leicester if you hadn’t gotten injured and if the club had treated you differently. Those are all ifs. It’s 100 percent frustrating. Don’t think I’m still not burning about how it’s gone. I still kick myself for it. But on the other hand, I will continue to kick myself because I cannot change it.

“Can I help myself to get up front? That’s why I got loaned out, why I went on loan to Aston Villa and Burnley, which didn’t work out, and went to Turkey when I was 30 – I never thought I could do that would do. That’s also why I fell back into the championship. I was trying to do the right things. When I tried, something went wrong.”

“I was lost” – Drinkwater on mental health issues

During a difficult time for Drinkwater at Chelsea, the midfielder admitted he has struggled with his mental health, particularly when he was accused of having an easy life and saying he’s glad not to be able to play.

Was he happy “living life”? what was the reality With his problems on the field and a string of problems off the field, Drinkwater showed he was lost.

“That’s not true,” he said. “’Living Life’ lasts about two weeks. You realize you’re not involved in games just training so I can go out with the boys I’m single it’s great I can do all of that. I was I love it, but in the background there’s always things that burn away.

Frank Lampard has opened the door for the likes of Danny Drinkwater to revive their Chelsea careers.
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Drinkwater plays for Chelsea

“And as a person, if you’re not open enough to talk to the right people, it gnaws at you. I only learned that later. I always thought, ‘I’m a big, strong guy, I can handle that’.

“I was [suffering with mental health issues in 2019]. Grandma passed, grandpa passed, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia, I lost my dog ​​and was driving drunk which just isn’t me. I have made a big mistake. I also fought for my son, which was constantly going on and taking its toll.

“I think if someone has too much to juggle, it can hit you. And it hit me. And I was like ‘wow’, is that what it turned out to be?

He added: “When football is going well everything else seems easier to deal with, but when this is not going so well everything seems so difficult. I definitely think that’s the lowest I’ve ever had.”

When asked if he got help, he said: “I didn’t think I was depressed but I’ve been to a sports psychologist and if I hadn’t I definitely think it could have gone that way because I just fought and fought and it didn’t help anyone.”

Drinking water with a view to the future

Danny drinking water
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Drinkwater spent some time in Reading

Despite the problems Drinkwater has faced following his Chelsea exit, he can now begin to look to the future.

The midfielder spent last season in the Sky Bet Championship with Reading where he made 32 appearances and it was a loan spell that helped Drinkwater regain his confidence and enjoy his football again.

“I came to Reading expecting to fly after eight games but after 20 games I thought – what’s happening here? I still didn’t feel really fit and I can’t get my sharpness. I felt like that didn’t really help the team… and I was like, ‘Wow, is it gone? What happened?”.

“Then you get a feeling back. The last part of last season was good. A new gaffer came in and it was good. He helped me and I felt like I was helping the team. This is probably the first time that I’ve enjoyed football for years.”

What about next season? Where will Drinkwater play its football?

“There are a few offers floating around,” he said. “It’s a strange time for football, especially when you’re in the open market.

“Last season helped me tremendously to get through all these games and hopefully the second half of the season showed that I still have the ability and hunger to push myself.

“There are options, it’s all about the decision. I love to win, so at that age it’s difficult to let go.”

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