Former Chelsea and Leicester City midfielder Danny Drinkwater has announced his retirement from professional football at 33 years.
Drinkwater made the announcement after nearly 18 months out of football.
His last outing as a player was for Reading during a loan spell away from Stamford Bridge but failed to secure a move following his Blues exit.
Having made just 75 appearances in six years, he has now called it a day.
Speaking on the High Performance podcast, Drinkwater 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 was playing week in, 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 started his career with Manchester United within the club’s academy system ahead of a series of Football League loan moves.
He helped Leicester to promotion to the Premier League before playing a key role as they lifted an historic title in 2016.
His form caught the eye of then England boss Roy Hodgson as he earned three caps before narrowly missing out on a place in the Three Lions squad for Euro 2016.
Drinkwater remained with Leicester as they reached the Champions League quarter-finals before sealing a £35million move to Chelsea.
At Chelsea he won the FA Cup in the 2017/18 season.
Unfortunately, injuries affected his Stamford Bridge spell and he made just 22 appearances and scored just one goal before a loan move to Aston Villa.
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