Pre-season beckons new opportunities and one forgotten Chelsea star appears to have taken his, impressing Chelsea fans who have dubbed his performance a “masterclass”
“He’s still there?” is something many gazumped Chelsea fans can be heard saying during pre-season matches.
The Blues’ approach to their loan system, which sees academy players and senior stars distant from the squad loaned out to get much needed minutes, saw the West Londoners loan out 37 players’ last season.
Every pre-season, many forgotten stars are given a run out, quite often by a brand-new manager, reminding supporters they are still part of Stamford Bridge.
One player who has put himself into the forefront of manager Thomas Tuchel’s mind is midfielder Danny Drinkwater.
The 31-year-old has only made 19 competitive appearances for the Blues since signing from Leicester City for £35 million during the 2017-18 season, and has not made a Premier League appearance for Chelsea in three years.
He was shipped out on loan to Burnley, Aston Villa and Turkish side Kasimpasa by Maurizio Sarri and Frank Lampard respectively, but it appears Tuchel is giving the Premier League and FA Cup winner an opportunity to impress.
The German manager deployed him in a 45-minute cameo appearance in the two-time Champions League winner’s 2-1 pre-season victory against Bournemouth.
His performance at the Vitality Stadium appears to have impressed Chelsea fans.
One wrote: “I’m hearing all this (Armando) Broja talk but why is no one mentioning (Ike) Ugbo? Why is no one mentioning the Drinkwater masterclass?
“At times is all about focus and dedication but Danny Drinkwater has not forgotten how to play football. Amazing performance last night. Felt like Jorginho at times. Those one touch triangle passes and diagonals were spot on all through,” said one Blues fan.
“Why Drinkwater playing like prime Fabregas now,” laughed another Chelsea supporter.
Another hopeful fan said: “If Danny Drinkwater works on his fitness, develops a good work-rate and learns how to point fingers, he can give strong competition to Jorginho this season. Man has a crazy passing range, vision and was breaking lines for fun tonight.”
It’s a performance which has come at the perfect time for the midfielder, but he will face stiff competition from other returning loan players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Conor Gallagher, and Ross Barkley who have also been given chances to force their way into contention.