A Premier League winner with Leicester in 2016, Drinkwater has played only 29 games since joining Chelsea in 2017.

“I have taken a good look at myself loads of times,” he told the Telegraph.

“I told myself that I needed to clean myself up big time.

“I had a wake-up call after the drink-driving, another wake-up call after the nightclub and then another wake-up call after the incident at Villa. Then it’s like, this has got to stop.”

Drinkwater was not allocated a squad number for 2019-20 when Chelsea announced theirs on Thursday, with new signing Thiago taking Drinkwater’s former number six.

Drinkwater was an integral part of Leicester’s stunning title success, and joined Chelsea for £35m in September 2017.

Drinkwater lack of appearances since, coupled with some personal issues – including the difficulties of seeing his son, from whose mother he is separated – led to his “falling out of love with football”, with a 30-minute substitute appearance in the Community Shield his only first-team action in 2018-19.

He added: “At that point it just becomes a job and fulfilling your hours. Mentally, it’s a killer. For a full year knowing that was hard to cope with.

“I won’t use Chelsea as an excuse for the drink-driving. Obviously, my mental state wasn’t the best, but it was ridiculous and it should never have happened.

“There were a few things going on then away from football, my nan and grandad passed away quite close together and, this might sound daft to anyone who doesn’t have a dog, but my dog passed away and that hurt me. It was all part of the sticky patch.

“For everything to come in a short space of time with my career not going to plan was too much for me. It hit me.”

He now, though, says he is ready to get his career back on track.

“I’ve got loads more to give. I’m open to going abroad, even though it will be difficult with my son,” Drinkwater explained.

“I need an anchor and I need to sort out one side of my life, so if I can sort my football out, even if it is abroad, then that will help in the long term.

“It probably all comes down to patience and trust with me. I need to change for it to work, otherwise I’ll be stuck in this vicious circle.

“If I can trust people who are good at their job and be patient then I can only see me building my career back up now. I can’t see me staying in this situation. No chance.”


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