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Danny Drinkwater vs. Everton: A debut three frustrating months in the making

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It’s been a rather frustrating few months for Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater. Subject of drawn-out rumors and negotiations during the summer, his transfer to Chelsea was only finalized in the final hours of the transfer window. His debut for Chelsea was then delayed even further by a calf injury, a most untimely one given the squad’s other injury issues as well.

Thankfully the wait for Drinkwater was over yesterday, even though Conte had ruled him out earlier in the week, as he put in a solid 60-minute shift on his return to competitive match action. His first few minutes on the pitch showed the rustiness expected of a player who had last seen the pitch five months ago, but once he got in rhythm, things started to look up.

“I don’t think [the last few months] could have gone any worse. I have been trying to take the positives out of it. My calf feels good now but I was massively frustrated. The waiting game was killing me.”

“It’s been good to watch the team and it has helped me to settle in as well. It has given me a feel for how they actually play. But the sooner I can get more involved now, the better for me.”

-Danny Drinkwater; Source: Chelsea TV via London Evening Standard

It’s not so easy to get back to full match fitness however, and after the game, Conte revealed that we should not expect Drinkwater to be fully fit until after the November international break.

“The other good news was to see Danny Drinkwater. We will have three games before the international break and to see him fit 100 percent maybe after the international break. I can count him in games now. If I decide to play with three midfielders, it’s very important.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Reuters

But at least he’s back and ready for limited action, and ready to finally create that proper depth in midfield that we had hoped we achieved when he was signed back in the summer.