Can Drinkwater resurrect his Premier League career with Burnley?
Danny Drinkwater is closing in on his first appearance for Burnley following his deadline-day loan move from Chelsea.
It is just over three years since the 29-year-old played a key role in Leicester’s remarkable Premier League title-winning campaign, while 2016 also saw him win three England caps – his only international appearances to date.
However, things have seemingly been going downhill for Drinkwater since those dizzy heights as he moved to Chelsea the following year for a reported £35million, but he barely featured for the Blues over the subsequent two years.
Indeed, Drinkwater’s only appearance last season came in the Community Shield and it was seemingly inevitable that he would leave Stamford Bridge during the summer, with the only surprise being he had to wait until deadline day to make his move to the Clarets.
Drinkwater’s lack of action for Chelsea, even during pre-season, has meant he has not been fit enough to feature in Burnley’s opening two games of the season, while he will also not be considered for Sunday’s trip to Molineux to take on Wolves.
TRAINING | The Clarets prepare for @Wolves 🐺
— Burnley FC (@BurnleyOfficial) August 23, 2019
The former Manchester United youngster did feature for 45 minutes as an over-aged player for Burnley’s under-23s on Monday before playing in a full training-ground game later in the week and boss Sean Dyche has now confirmed that he could make his competitive debut during Wednesday’s Carabao Cup tie at home to Sunderland.
“Danny has taken another big step towards real fitness by getting 90 minutes under his belt,” Dyche told reporters. “We’ll certainly be looking for some kind of figuring for him in the cup game, but it’s a bit quick for him on Sunday.
“He’s kind at the end of his personal pre-season. Although he’s fit and well, he hadn’t played much football this pre-season at Chelsea.
“We explained he needed the minutes to get back up to speed and he’s bought into that and been training really well.”
Drinkwater will certainly be looking to hit the ground running with Burnley as his loan deal is only set to run until January 6, so he will have to impress if he is to earn an extension.
At 29, this could be the last chance Drinkwater gets to prove he is still capable of playing in the Premier League, but arguably Burnley is the right place for the midfielder to find his feet as Dyche’s squad is known to be a close-knit group that always seem to be pulling in the right direction.
If Drinkwater can get his head down then he should have enough quality to become a mainstay of the Clarets team and, although his time challenging at the top of the Premier League and representing England may be over, he could still enjoy a successful few years in the top flight with the Clarets or elsewhere.