The Blues midfielder has gone on loan to Turkish Super Lig side Kasimpasa for six months after a spell in the wilderness
Frank Lampard says that he believes personal issues have set Danny Drinkwater’s Chelsea career back, while adding that he hopes the midfielder plays as much as possible at Kasimpasa.
The 30-year-old was signed from Leicester in a £35 million ($47m) deal in 2017, but has gone on to play only 12 Premier League matches for Chelsea.
After that, he went on two loan spells at Burnley and Aston Villa and played only a further five times last season. For the last six months, he has been training with Chelsea’s Under-23s team.
Alongside that has come a spate of off-field issues, including a drink driving charge, being attacked in a nightclub and an incident that saw him headbutt his Villa team-mate.
When asked whether Drinkwater would play for Chelsea again, Lampard says that he just told the midfielder to simply focus on playing well at Kasimpasa.
“The important thing now for Danny is to think of the short term,” Lampard told reporters. “I’m not being negative there but I’m just saying to go and play some games because I think that will paint a picture of how we move forward from there.
“If he plays games, plays regularly, he’ll feel better, then we can cross that bridge when it comes to the end of the season about where that takes us forward for Danny and for ourselves.
“There’s been some difficult circumstances for Danny, for himself, just some things have been the situation around him, which has not always been in his hands either. Some things he takes responsibility for, some things are not right on both sides.
“So let’s try and probably use this as a catalyst and look forward. It’s a positive move that he is going to play football and then we’ll see where we are at.
“Hopefully he can get some games behind them because at the moment he’s not been getting games, it’s not a great situation. So let’s hope we can improve that situation for him first and foremost.”
Goal first revealed the surprise move last week and Chelsea will pick up the majority of the midfielder’s £100,000-a-week wages.
Drinkwater admitted that he is keen to build up his fitness and focus on his football upon joining the Istanbul outfit.
“It has been a long time coming but I am glad I am finally here,” he told the club’s website. “The club worked very hard [to sign me] and I can’t wait to get started. It will be a good new experience with a lot of new things for me to get used to like the language and culture but it is an experience and I am excited about it.
“The facilities are great, I had seen photos but in real life it is lovely. The goal is to get back playing, I need fitness and I am here to help Kasimpasa and I am hoping to finish in the Europa League places and see where we go from there.”