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Drinkwater declined England call-up to concentrate on Chelsea fitness

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AS Roma v Chelsea FC - UEFA Champions League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

The international break is barely a few days old, yet we’ve already had to deal with two injury situations, one minor, the other possibly more serious. Striker Alvaro Morata remains with Spain after the “petty annoyance” of his toenail issue, but his backup at club level, Michy Batshuayi, has returned from the Belgium camp for further tests on his unspecified foot injury that already needed to be x-rayed by the national team’s doctors.

We had hoped that Chelsea were ready to kick the injury habit after several key players missing time last month (including first and foremost, N’Golo Kante) and several more playing through nagging pain, but so far that trend doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

One player who is actively trying to improve the squad’s depth is Danny Drinkwater. The summers signing has just recently recovered from a series of injuries stretching all the way to the summer, and because he’s still just coming up to full match fitness, has turned down a call-up to the England national team. Such decision often attract controversy (especially when injuries are just minor), but Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate played down any suggestions along those lines.

"I am not a manager who wants to reel players out until they break. I don't take risks with players. I have man-to-man discussions with them around where they are at and how much risk we want to take. Hearing this talk of club v country, it is a nonsense."

“I wanted to find out where [Danny] felt he was. He felt he wasn't ready yet to play this level. If Danny didn't feel he was ready for that I can understand it given the amount of minutes he's had and he didn't play at the end of the season with Leicester either."

-Gareth Southgate; source: BBC

Drinkwater turned the offer down knowing that it could negatively affect his chances for next spring and the World Cup in the summer as well. That must’ve been a tough, but ultimately sensible decision, and one for which he should be commended. Hopefully he can use these two weeks to get fully healthy and thus continue contributing to the Chelsea cause just as he’s started to do since making his debut against Everton in the League Cup a couple weeks ago.

In related news, the BBC’s report says that Gary Cahill missed England training, but doesn’t say why (guess: resting?) and that Ruben Loftus-Cheek will start on Friday against Germany. Congrats!