PREMIER LEAGUE winner Danny Drinkwater has retired at the age of 33.
That's after "being in limbo too long" following his Chelsea release in July 2022.
He told the High Performance Podcast: "I'd just like to announce my retirement from professional football.
"It's probably been a long time coming, especially with the last year, but I think it's time to officially announce it now.
"I didn't think it would bother me but saying it then it's almost like scratching a nerve a bit.
"I think I've been ready for it, not stopping at my peak and it's simmered down a bit, that's helped the transition.
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"I think I've been in limbo for too long, I've either been wanting to play but not getting the opportunities to play at a level where I felt valued.
"I just thought I'm restless here for no reason, I'm happy not playing football, but I'm happy playing football, so do I just shake hands with the sport?
"It's all I've known, it's been my life since I was six or seven, it was never going to be an easy thing.
"I think the way it's died down has definitely helped. If I was playing week in, week out and had to stop through injury or age I think it would be trickier.
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"I've had quite a few offers from Championship clubs, but I never felt the burn, it did nothing for me."
Drinkwater came up at Manchester United before embarking on several loans in League One and the Championship.
But it was at Leicester where he made his name, playing 218 times and landing an historic Premier League title in 2016.
Drinkwater's success secured him a £35million move to Chelsea a year later.
But his first season was blighted by injury, with the midfielder making just 12 league appearances.
Drinkwater, who played three times for England, never featured in the top flight again for Chelsea.
And he was packed off on various loans to Burnley, Aston Villa, Turkish side Kasımpaşa and finally Reading before his Blues contract expired in June last year.
Drinkwater revealed this summer he was hoping to bag a move to Saudi Arabia.
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And he also admitted he was open to rejoining Leicester for their Championship campaign.
But with nobody knocking on his door, Drinkwater has now bowed out of the beautiful game.
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