Danny Drinkwater has been added to Chelsea’s squad for the knockout stages of the Europa League.
The Englishman has only featured once for Chelsea under Maurizio Sarri this season, a 30-minute appearance in the Community Shield at the start of the campaign.
Why have Chelsea added Drinkwater to their squad? Five key things to know…
- Danny Drinkwater has played just one game for Maurizio Sarri this season.
- Sarri has previously admitted Drinkwater is not fit for his system, being better for a two-man midfield.
- But, despite being tipped to leave in January, Drinkwater remained at Chelsea.
- And Drinkwater has now been added to Chelsea’s squad for the knockout stages of the Europa League.
- The Englishman replaces Cesc Fabregas in the squad, with Gonzalo Higuain also being added.
Drinkwater was not part of Chelsea’s first Europa League squad and has only been on the bench three times this season including his Community Shield appearance.
It had been thought the midfielder would be leaving in January, especially given Sarri’s previous comments.
In December, the Chelsea head coach admitted Drinkwater is not suitable for his tactics despite being a good midfielder.
“I think for him the problem is only my football,” he said.
“He’s a very good midfielder but he is suitable for a midfield two because with a three he is not really a central midfielder or suitable for centre right or centre left.”
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But the January transfer window came and went, with Drinkwater staying put. And the midfielder has now been included in Chelsea’s newest Europa League squad, alongside new signing Gonzalo Higuain.
Drinkwater replaces Cesc Fabregas, who left for Monaco in January and had taken up one of Chelsea’s homegrown spots. Also out of the squad are Alvaro Morata and Victor Moses who have both been loaned out.
Sarri gives Drinkwater hope
With Drinkwater now at Chelsea at least for the remainder of the season and in their Europa League squad, the Englishman could find himself back on the pitch for the first time since August.
These hopes were elevated prior to the end of the January transfer window, with Sarri hinting he would be ready to use as many players possible once his squad was finalised.
“Not at the moment, but I want to wait until the end of the market,” he said when asked about Drinkwater’s chances of playing.
“Then I’ll try with every player.”
The Europa League may be seen by many as Drinkwater’s best chance, with the Blues having previously used the competition as a chance to rest key players.
Chelsea face Swedish side Malmo in the last-32 of the Europa League, with the first leg on February before the return match takes place a week later