Danny Drinkwater, a former midfielder for Chelsea and Leicester, announced his retirement on Monday, acknowledging that he had been "in limbo" for far too long.
Drinkwater played a key role in Leicester's incredible Premier League victory in 2016, but he transferred to Chelsea the following year.
Following a car crash in 2019, an incident outside a nightclub that resulted in an ankle injury, and a headbutt on Villa teammate Jota during a training ground altercation in 2020, the 33-year-old entered a guilty plea to driving under the influence.
Drinkwater had not played for a club since the end of the 2021–2022 season, when his Chelsea contract expired. His final appearances came while on loan at Reading.
Speaking on The High Performance Podcast, he said: “It’s been a long time coming maybe, especially with the last year, but I think it’s time to officially announce it now.
“I think I’ve been in limbo for too long. I’ve been wanting to play but not getting the opportunity to play at a standard or a level where I felt valued.
“I’m happy not playing football but I’m happy playing football, so do I just shake hands with the sport?”
Drinkwater, who has three England caps, attended Manchester United's youth academy but did not play professionally there before moving to Leicester in 2012.
“It’s all I’ve known. It’s been my life since I was six, seven years old. It was never going to be an easy thing,” he said.
“If I was playing week in, week out and I had to say I’ve got to stop, maybe through injury or through just age, not being able to get about the pitch like I’d like to, I think it would be trickier.”