Danny Drinkwater’s Chelsea career is properly finished after he was sent off playing for their under-23s against Tottenham last night. It was over long ago, in truth, but seeing him lash out at 16-year-old Alfie Devine and then act the hard man makes for desperate viewing.
In fairness to Drinkwater, Devine had gone in two-footed on him first with an absolutely terrible tackle – for which Devine was sent off – but the Chelsea midfielder’s reaction was over the top and he had to go. It took the gloss of a superb Chelsea comeback: they won 3-2 after being 2-0 down.
Drinkwater, 30, hasn’t played for Chelsea’s senior team since March 2018 and was omitted from their Premier League squad this season. Loan spells at Aston Villa and Burnley didn’t work out for him last season and his behaviour both on and off the pitch is going to leave him with few suitors. Chelsea paid £35m for him. Yikes.
To put yourself in Drinkwater’s shoes for a second, it can’t feel good to have to play with teenagers when you’ve already won a Premier League title and played for England. That’s gonna put a dent in anyone’s pride. Still, he has to take most of the blame for how his career has gone since leaving Leicester in 2017.
Incidentally, Drinkwater wasn’t the oldest man on the pitch yesterday. Petr Cech, 38, rolled back the years and played in goal for Chelsea! Quite how this is permitted in a youth match is beyond me, but it was good to see the big man back in action.