Danny Drinkwater opens up on 'embarrassing' Aston Villa loan spell
Former Aston Villa loanee Danny Drinkwater has opened up on his ill-fated spell at the club last season - in which he infamously clashed with teammate Jota in a training ground bust-up.
Drinkwater joined Dean Smith's side in January, hoping to re-kindle a career which had previously seen him claim a Premier League winners' medal with Leicester, before moves to Chelsea and Burnley saw him struggle on and off the pitch.
The 30-year-old was integral for Claudio Ranieri's Leicester City as they claimed a stunning Premier League title in 2016, but his career fell off after a £35m move to Chelsea - after which he rarely featured for the Blues.
A loan move to Burnley also failed to see him make an impact on the pitch, whilst away from football he was charged with drink driving and involved in an infamous altercation at a Manchester night club.
He was offered a chance to revitalise his career at B6 in January, but only managed four league appearances - before being involved in a training ground clash with Villa winger Jota.
Drinkwater has now opened up about his struggles, admitting the move was a huge 'wake-up call' regarding his fitness, and that he felt 'embarrassed' at being unable to make it onto the pitch for Dean Smith's side.
"Villa was the biggest wake-up call in terms of my fitness." Drinkwater said in an interview with the Daily Telegraph.
"I was catching up three pre-seasons, a full season with no football and half a season where I’ve played two games. And I’m thinking ‘eight games, I’ll be fine’."
"I was trying to rush it and, to be fair, Dean Smith was quality. He didn’t put any pressure on me, but I felt like I had no time. I played four or five games and I didn’t manage to do anything. The fans were waiting for Danny Drinkwater and this loaf of bread turned up in midfield."
He also recalled failing to make it onto the pitch after being named as a substitute against Leicester City - a game the club lost 4-0 before the season's suspension, a game which eventually sparked his infamous training ground clash with Spanish winger Jota.
"I was thinking ‘Jesus, I’ve just been back to somewhere I had so much success and I couldn’t get on the pitch. This is embarrassing’,"
"I got some stick from the fans and I woke up and I was raging. After training I planned to go and speak to Dean Smith about things, but then I went and headbutted Jota.
"We were on the same team, that’s how stupid it was. I’ve never done that, I’ve never laid someone out before. It was ridiculous. I apologised straight away and I had to go home. I texted him straight after to apologise and take full responsibility. I Google translated it into Spanish as well to make sure he’d understand.
"I told myself that I needed to clean myself up big time. I must have taken a good look at myself s**t loads of times. I had a wake up call after the drink driving, another wake up call after the nightclub and then another wake up call after the incident at Villa. Then it’s like, this has got to stop.
"Drink driving, I’ve not driven since, because I can’t, the nightclub incident, I’ve not really been in an English nightclub since and I don’t plan to and I definitely can’t put myself in the situation to fight with a team-mate again."