Danny Drinkwater has revealed his arrest for drink-driving in 2019 was a wake-up call as he opened up on his boozing and partying during his ill-fated spell at Chelsea.
Drinkwater, 33, on Monday announced his retirement during an interview on Jake Humphrey’s High Performance Podcast.
The Premier League winner joined Chelsea from Leicester for £35million in 2017 but only played a bit-part role. He went on loan to Burnley, Aston Villa, Turkish club Kasimpasa and Reading in the Championship before leaving Stamford Bridge following the expiry of his contract in June 2022.
Drinkwater’s time at the Blues included being arrested for drink-driving after he crashed his car following a party in Cheshire.
He crashed his £125,000 Range Rover into a wall at 12.30am, just hours before the Blues’ win over West Ham at Stamford Bridge. Drinkwater was later banned from driving for 20 months.
‘That was a massive wake-up sign for me,’ he told the podcast. ‘I remember I was in the cell for 23 hours – they usually take two or three hours them things – sobering up and I’m in this cell thinking “what the f*** are you doing mate”.
‘This is not you at all. It’s not you as a person, it’s not how you want to be as a person. You need to get a hold of yourself here. That’s when I started seeking outside help with it all.’
Drinkwater’s drink-driving arrest was part of the infamous ‘Wagatha Christie’ trial between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy.
Vardy told her agent Caroline Watt she ‘wanted paying’ for information about Drinkwater leaving police custody. She claimed during the trial that it was because she was ‘deeply affected’ by drink-driving after her ex-husband ‘killed two people’.
Rebekah sent a message to Ms Watt to tell her that Drinkwater had been arrested, the court heard.
‘Danny Drinkwater arrested… Crashed his car drunk with 2 girls in it … both in hospital one with broken ribs,’ court documents show.
Rebekah also said: ‘I want paying for this.’
Drinkwater also admitted his off-field activities, such as boozy nights out in London, affected his performances on the pitch.
‘I was a single lad in London at the time so I was, without giving too much detail away, I was being a single lad in London, getting stuck into living in the city,’ Drinkwater said.
‘I was trying to enjoy that side of life as a kind of cover for everything else. That’s what I’d use to enjoy myself because everything else is going pretty s****y.
‘You look back now and I’d be going out drinking, getting with any bird that I can. It was just mad.
‘You’re waking up with a hangover and it’s like f***, last night’s happiness has disappeared and it’s back to reality.’
‘It was just not me as a focused footballer.’