The most optimistic projections probably envisioned Danny Drinkwater reuniting with N’Golo Kanté and supplying a free-scoring striker as a viable option for a Chelsea midfield in need of some depth in 2017. It worked for Leicester City once, right?
While Drinkwater soldiered on gamely under Antonio Conte — often not by choice but rather by the lack of any other options — he was summarily ostracized by Maurizio Sarri (using the thinnest of excuses) and it’s only been downhill ever since. Drinkwater has made almost as many headlines for ill-advised choices (3: the drink driving, the nightclub altercation and injury, the training ground bust-up) than he’s managed Premier League appearances (5) in the last 24 months.
It’s certainly been regrettable, on many levels, though regret is a fairly useless emotion. As he himself said (well, typed) in an Instagram Q&A session yesterday, he’s instead trying to learn from all those mistakes and mis-steps.
“I try not to regret things... but learn. Things haven’t gone as good as I hoped after I left Leicester because of one thing or another but I had to give it a chance.”
-Danny Drinkwater; source: Instagram
It’s certainly hard to fault Tenacious Double D for taking the opportunity offered by Chelsea at the time. But time is running out. That may be a tad over-dramatic, but having recently turned 30, Drinkwater’s career is in need of a major resurrection at a rather late stage. “Difficult” loans to Burnley and currently Aston Villa haven’t really been the ticket, although he’s back training with the Villans as they hope to stave off relegation.
That said, Drinkwater does have two more years left on Chelsea’s books — the club literally paying for that mistake for a while yet — which does give him a few more opportunities to finish out the last few years of his career without bouncing around from team to team ever six months as the saddest Loan Army warrior.