Daniel Noel Drinkwater (born 5 March 1990) is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Chelsea and the England national team. He has previously spent time on loan at Huddersfield Town, Cardiff City, Watford and Barnsley, and also played for Manchester United and Leicester City. Drinkwater has also played internationally for England at under-18 and under-19 levels. He is a Premier League winner, having won the competition with Leicester in the 2015–16 season.
Born in Manchester, Drinkwater joined the Manchester United academy at the age of nine, progressing through the ranks before earning a trainee contract in July 2006. In his first season at the club, Drinkwater became a regular in the Manchester United under-18 team, making 27 appearances and scoring two goals. He received his first taste of reserve team action that same season, coming off the bench to replace Ritchie Jones in a 5–2 Premier Reserve League win at home to Wigan Athletic. The following season, Drinkwater consolidated his position in the under-18s team while increasing his presence in the reserves. In the 2008 Lancashire Senior Cup final against Liverpool on 31 July 2008, Drinkwater came on as a 56th-minute substitute for Rodrigo Possebon before scoring the winning goal three minutes from full-time. In the 2008–09 season, Drinkwater became a regular in the reserve team, making 18 appearances and getting on the scoresheet twice.
At the end of the season, Drinkwater was called up to the Manchester United first team for their dead rubber league match against Hull City on 24 May 2009. He was named on the bench, but did not take to the field.
To gain first team experience, on 14 August 2009, Drinkwater joined Huddersfield Town on loan for the duration of the 2009–10 season. He made his debut for the club the very next day, coming on in the 72nd minute for Gary Roberts in a 3–1 win at home to Southampton. His first goal for Huddersfield came three days later in a 7–1 home win over Brighton & Hove Albion, five minutes after coming on as a 64th-minute substitute. He made his first start for Huddersfield in a 1–0 defeat at Bristol Rovers on 22 August.
On 8 July 2010, Manchester United agreed for Drinkwater to spend a season-long loan spell at Cardiff City. As they were under a transfer embargo at the time, Cardiff said that the move would be completed once this had been lifted. The move was eventually confirmed on 6 August 2010, once the embargo had been removed. Drinkwater's competitive debut for Cardiff two days later, in their 1–1 home draw with Sheffield United on the opening day of the 2010–11 Football League season.
Despite the loan having originally been intended to last the entire season, Manchester United recalled Drinkwater from Cardiff on 25 January 2011. During his time with Cardiff, Drinkwater made 12 appearances, including nine in the Championship.
Just three days after his return to Manchester United, Drinkwater joined Watford on 28 January 2011 on loan until the end of the season.
On 23 August 2011, Drinkwater joined Barnsley on loan until 2 January 2012, which was later extended until 30 June 2012. He made 17 Championship appearances for the Tykes, scoring in a 5–3 loss at his former team Cardiff on 22 October.
On 20 January 2012, Drinkwater joined Leicester City from Manchester United for an undisclosed fee.
After being named Championship Player of the Month for December 2013, he was also one of three players who received a nomination for the Championship Player of the Year Award. Drinkwater had his most successful year as a professional, scoring seven goals and being named to the PFA Championship Team of the Year alongside teammates Kasper Schmeichel and Wes Morgan, as Leicester were promoted to the Premier League after winning the Championship. On 17 June 2014, Drinkwater signed a new four-year deal with Leicester after helping the Foxes win promotion to the Premier League for the first time in ten years.
Drinkwater played consistently as the Foxes won the Premier League title in 2015–16, alongside his midfield partners N'Golo Kanté, Marc Albrighton and Riyad Mahrez. On 23 January 2016, he scored his first top-flight goal, opening a 3–0 win over Stoke City at the King Power Stadium.
On 25 August 2016, Drinkwater signed a long term contract to remain with the club to 2021.
On 1 September 2017, Drinkwater signed for Premier League champions Chelsea on a five-year contract, for a £35 million fee.
Drinkwater made his debut for the England under-18 team in their 2–0 win over Ghana where he scored the second goal of the match. His second under-18 cap came in a 2–0 win over Austria.
He also made appearances for the England under-19s between 2008 and 2009. His first appearance came in their match against Albania on 8 October 2008. His final appearance for the England under-19s came against Ukraine on 2 August 2009.
He was called up to the full England squad for the first time on 17 March 2016, ahead of friendlies against Germany and the Netherlands. He made his debut 12 days later in the latter match, a 2–1 loss at Wembley Stadium in which he was man of the match. Drinkwater was named in Roy Hodgson's 26-man provisional squad for UEFA Euro 2016 but was one of three players axed for the final selection.
- As of match played 21 May 2017
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Manchester United||2008–09||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Huddersfield Town (loan)||2009–10||League One||33||2||1||0||1||0||2||0||37||2|
|Cardiff City (loan)||2010–11||Championship||9||0||1||0||2||0||—||12||0|
- As of match played 27 May 2016
- Premier League: 2015–16
- Football League Championship: 2013–14
- Championship PFA Team of the Year: 2013–14
- Championship Player of the Month: December 2013
- Leicester City Player of the Season: 2013–14
- Leicester City Goal of the Season: 2013–14