Danny Drinkwater “definitely wants to play” for England, despite declining a call-up for the Three Lions’ November friendlies against Germany and Brazil.
Not our words, Carol. The words of Jamie Vardy, who has assured us that his former Leicester City teammate’s excuse – that he does not currently feel fit enough for international inclusion – is perfectly kosher.
After working his back from a thigh injury, Drinkwater came on for the final 11 minutes of Chelsea’s game against Manchester United on 5th November, but reneged on the chance to join up with Gareth Southgate’s squad when the opportunity to replace Jordan Henderson, Fabian Delph and/or Harry Winks came up just a few days later.
Speaking before the Germany match, Southgate said:
I wanted to find out where he felt he was. He felt he wasn’t ready yet to play this level.
If Danny didn’t feel he was ready for that I can understand it given the amount of minutes he’s had and he didn’t play at the end of the season with Leicester either.
Drinkwater then came in for a bit of a lambasting from the Turning-down-England-is-tantamount-to-high-treason crowd, with Alan Shearer even suggesting that the egregious snub should preclude Drinkwater from being considered for selection ever again.
However, there one lone voice who spoke out in support of Drinkwater, and that man was Jamie Vardy.
As the least engaging club-versus-country debate in recent memory gathered momentum, Vardy offered his thoughts to BBC Sport:
Drinks has been struggling to get a bit of match-time. He was injured and he needs to get the match sharpness back. He has been doing that in recent weeks for Chelsea and he needs to keep building that up.
He definitely wants to play for his country.
So that’s that settled.
He didn’t feel fully fit, he’s probably not fully fit, he ultimately wasn’t called-up by Southgate for exactly that reason and, at the end of the day, who honestly cares if Danny Drinkwater is in the England squad or otherwise?
Surely, he’s the type of workaday player that would cherish every dalliance he is granted with the national team and not go flippantly turning them down on a whim?