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

Danny Drinkwater says he is relieved his Chelsea nightmare is finally over after admitting he wasted some of what could have been his best years as a footballer.

The 32-year-old, who was a key figure in Leicester City’s title-winning side during the 2015/16 season, moved to Chelsea in 2017 for £35m and signed a five-year deal at Stamford Bridge.

However, the move did not work out for Drinkwater, who was sidelined for much of his time at Chelsea and saw his career stall, making just 23 appearances for the club, scoring just one goal.

Those difficulties are now over for Drinkwater, who was released by Chelsea this summer, and speaking exclusively to Sky sports newsthe former England international is glad he can now look forward as he looks to get his career back on track.

“I’m relieved because it was clearly not a good situation for me or the club,” Drinkwater replied when asked about his departure from Chelsea.

“I’m angry about how it went and how I was treated, though I’m not bitter, what if. It was a long time coming.”

I can’t blame the club. And to some extent, I can’t even blame myself. There is more that could have been done, but there are many conditioning factors. I don’t think it’s anyone’s fault.

Danny Drinkwater on Chelsea struggles

Drinkwater and Sarri clash on Deadline Day

Drinkwater’s tumultuous time at Stamford Bridge was perhaps best typified by a swap with then-Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri in the 11th hour of the 2018 summer transfer window.

Speaking through caretaker translator and assistant manager Gianfranco Zola, Sarri unceremoniously told the midfielder that he was not part of his plans, leaving Drinkwater with an hour to find a new club.

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

“Sarri and I got along like a house on fire off the pitch. On the pitch, we were like chalk and cheese. I was like: ‘why are you telling me now? An hour before the window closes? I need time.’ He replied, ‘No, no, we have clubs abroad that you can look at…’

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

Drinkwater was a key member of Leicester's title-winning squad in 2016
Drinkwater was a key member of Leicester’s title-winning squad in 2016

Asked if he feels like he’s wasted the best five years of his career, Drinkwater added: “Yeah, it feels like ‘what have you thrown those five years at?’

“If you had stayed at Leicester, if you didn’t get injured and if the club treated you differently. They’re all conditional. It’s frustrating, 100 per cent. Don’t think I’m not on fire for how it is yet.” I keep kicking myself for it, but on the other hand, I’m going to keep kicking myself, because I can’t change it.

“Can I help myself in the future? That’s why I went on loan, why I went on loan to Aston Villa and Burnley, which didn’t work out, and go to Turkey at the age of 30. I never thought I’d do that.” . It is also the reason why I went down to the Championship. I’ve been trying to do the right things. When I tried to make them, something went wrong.”

‘I was lost’ – Drinkwater on mental health struggles

In what was a difficult time for Drinkwater at Chelsea, the midfielder admitted he struggled with his mental health, especially when accusations were thrown at him of living easy and being happy not to play.

Was he happy ‘living life’? What was the reality? With his problems on the pitch coupled with a host of problems off him, Drinkwater revealed that he was lost.

“That’s not true,” he said. “‘Living the life’ is about two weeks long. You realize you’re not involved in games, you just train, so I might hang out with the guys, I’m single, it’s great, I can do all of this. I was loving it, but in the background, there are always things that burn.

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

“And as a person, if you’re not open enough to talk to the right people, it overwhelms you. I didn’t learn that until later. I always said, ‘I’m a big, strong guy.'” , I can deal with this’.

“It was [suffering with mental health issues in 2019]. Nan passed away, Grandpa passed away, Dad was diagnosed with leukemia, I lost my dog ​​and I was driving under the influence of alcohol, which is not me. I made a huge mistake. I was also fighting for my son, who was constantly going through and taking its toll.

“I think when someone has too much to juggle, they can hit you. And it hit me. And I was like ‘wow,’ is this what it’s come to? And I was lost.”

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

Asked if he got any help, he said: “I didn’t think I was down but I saw the sports psychologist and if I hadn’t I definitely think it could have been because I was just fighting and fighting. , and he wasn’t helping anybody.”

Drinkwater focusing on the future

danny drinks water
Drinkwater spent time in Reading

Despite the problems Drinkwater faced following his departure from Chelsea, 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 start enjoying his football again.

“I joined Reading and expected to be flying after eight games, but after 20 games, I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’ It didn’t really benefit the team… and I was like ‘Wow, is it gone? What happened?’.

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

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

“There are some offers flying,” he said. “It’s a strange time for football, especially when you are free for the market.

“That last season helped me tremendously, getting all those games under my belt, and hopefully the second half of the season has shown that I still have the ability and the hunger to push myself.

“There are options, it’s just about the decision. I love to win, so it’s kind of hard to let go at this age.”

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