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Former Leicester and Chelsea midfielder Drinkwater retires

Former Leicester and Chelsea midfielder Danny Drinkwater announced his retirement on Monday after admitting he had been “in limbo” too long.

Drinkwater was a regular in the Leicester side that stunningly won the Premier League in 2016 but he moved to Chelsea a year later.

He failed to establish himself at Stamford Bridge and was sent for unsuccessful loan spells at Burnley and Aston Villa as his off-pitch problems mounted.

The 33-year-old pleaded guilty to drink-driving after crashing his car in 2019, suffered an ankle injury in an incident outside a nightclub later the same year and head-butted Villa team-mate Jota in a training ground incident in 2020.

Drinkwater’s last appearances came on loan at Reading in 2021-22 and he had been without a club since his Chelsea contract expired at the end of that season.

Speaking on The High Performance Podcast, he said: “It’s been a long time coming maybe, especially with the last year, but I think it’s time to officially announce it now.

“I think I’ve been in limbo for too long. I’ve been wanting to play but not getting the opportunity to play at a standard or a level where I felt valued. 

“I’m happy not playing football but I’m happy playing football, so do I just shake hands with the sport?”

Capped three times by England, Drinkwater was a graduate of Manchester United’s youth academy but did not make a senior appearance for the Old Trafford club before joining Leicester in 2012.

“It’s all I’ve known. It’s been my life since I was six, seven years old. It was never going to be an easy thing,” he said.

“If I was playing week in, week out and I had to say I’ve got to stop, maybe through injury or through just age, not being able to get about the pitch like I’d like to, I think it would be trickier.”

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