Having completed his move from the East Midlands to west London late into the night as the transfer window closed, Danny Drinkwater was able to reflect on making the next step in his career which will pit him against some familiar opponents and reunite him with a team-mate he knows very well…
Have you had a day quite like that before?
Never! My emotions have been all over the place. There has been frustration, excitement, I have been nervous and I am just grateful the transfer is done.
Leicester has been great for me but I am looking to carry on from the season before last when we won the Premier League there and I want to win more trophies, which Leicester have understood and where better to do it than Chelsea.
I am at a good age now to kick on. I have gained a lot of experience in playing games and hopefully that will show.
You are coming to play for an Italian manager in Antonio Conte, having enjoyed that great success at Leicester under Claudio Ranieri, another Italian we think of fondly here…
I am the same. I have fond memories as well. He is class. He helped me massively. I speak to him every now and again still and he was like a kind of father figure to me.
I learnt tactically from him, that was one of his main strengths. Positionally I think he improved my game massively.
Now you may have to adapt to new tactical systems again…
It is a new test, yes. It is a new manager, a new team – I am looking forward to it and hopefully I will get off to a good start.
Speaking of starts, the next game on our fixture list is away at Leicester.
I don’t know what the odds on that were. Hopefully I will get a good reception but I am a Chelsea player now so will be looking for three points.
And a little further down those fixtures, our first Champions League away game is at Atletico Madrid who you gave two good games in the quarter-finals last season.
Yes, less than six months ago. The away leg was at their old stadium but I am sure the new stadium will be just as great a place to play football and they will be a tough team to face, but no doubt we will be well-prepared for it. I am looking forward to having a real go at them and hopefully we will get the better of them this time.
Do you have good memories of the final game of Leicester’s championship season, the 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge?
Yeah, I scored the goal and I remember we went on out after the game and it was a good day. We didn’t want to lose, we were on a streak of not losing a game so that was like a cherry on the cake.
Finally, we must talk about N’Golo Kante…
I played with N’Golo for a season and there was not really a game I didn’t enjoy playing next to him. I am looking forward hopefully to carrying on where we left off. I think we hit it off from the first game and after that we did not really lose. He is a top lad, the most down-to-earth person you will meet. I can’t see him changing much and I am looking forward to meeting him again.