Former Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater has admitted it feels like he has ‘thrown away’ five years of his career during a disastrous spell at Stamford Bridge.
Drinkwater joined Chelsea for around £35m in 2017, a year after winning the Premier League with Leicester. But he made only 22 appearances in all competitions during his first season before falling completely out of favour for the remainder of his long-term contact.
The 32-year-old, who was capped three times by England in 2016, was finally released by Chelsea at the end of last month, having endured unsuccessful loans at Burnley, Aston Villa and Kasimpasa, before making 23 Championship appearances for Reading last season.
His last first-team game for Chelsea was the 2018 Community Shield. With his football career seemingly in tatters, the player also encountered problems in his personal life and pleaded guilty to a drink-driving charge in 2019 for which he received a 20-month driving ban.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Drinkwater reflected that he is ‘relieved’ it is a chapter of his career that is now over but admits he is ‘angry’ over how things turned out.
“I'm relieved, because it's clear it wasn't a situation that was good for me or the club. I'm angry because of how it's gone and how I was treated - not bitter though, what ifs. It was a long time coming,” he explained.
“It feels like 'what have you thrown those five years away?'” the player continued.
“If you'd stayed at Leicester, if you didn't get injured and if the club treated you differently. They're all ifs. It's frustrating, 100%. Don't think I'm still not burning about how it's gone. I still kick myself for it. But on the other side, am I going to keep kicking myself, because I can't change it.”