Former England midfielder, Danny Drinkwater, has announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 33.
The Premier League title winner with Leicester City moved to Chelsea but played only a bit-part role and has decided to hang up his boots having been “in limbo too long” following his release from there last year, Daily Mail reports Monday.
The 33-year-old said, “I’d just like to announce my retirement from professional football. It’s probably been a long time coming, especially with the last year, but I think it’s time to officially announce it now.
“I didn’t think it would bother me, but saying it then it’s almost like scratching a nerve a bit. I think I’ve been ready for it, not stopping at my peak, and it’s simmered down a bit. that’s helped the transition.
“I think I’ve been in limbo for too long; I’ve either been wanting to play but not getting the opportunities to play at a level where I felt valued.
“I just thought I’m restless here for no reason; I’m happy not playing football, but I’m happy playing football, so do I just shake hands with the sport? It’s all I’ve known; it’s been my life since I was six or seven. It was never going to be an easy thing.
“I think the way it’s died down has definitely helped. If I were playing week in and week out and had to stop through injury or age, I think it would be trickier. I’ve had quite a few offers from championship clubs, but I never felt the burn; it did nothing for me.”
Drinkwater came through the academy at Manchester United but didn’t make a senior appearance for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side amid loan spells to Huddersfield, Cardiff, Watford, and Barnsley, but his career took off when he signed for Leicester in 2012, helping them win promotion into the Premier League in 2014.
Drinkwater played a prominent part in Leicester’s miraculous Premier League title success under Claudio Ranieri in 2015-16, featuring in 35 of their 38 league games.
In March 2016, he won the first of three England caps in a friendly match against the Netherlands at Wembley but didn’t make Roy Hodgson’s squad for that year’s European Championship.
He played one more season at Leicester before Chelsea signed him for £35 million. However, he was never to play a prominent part there; his cause was not helped by injuries. He left Stamford Bridge upon the expiration of his Chelsea contract in June 2022.
Earlier this year, Drinkwater said he would be interested in a move to Saudi Arabia or rejoining Leicester following their relegation to the Championship, but Drinkwater has now decided to call time on his career.