Good days for Danny Drinkwater have been few and far between since he joined Chelsea in 2017.
His career has declined in the past decade, to the extent some fans might forget the midfielder is still on the books of the Blues.
Numerous failed loans and a string of injuries have left the 32-year-old scrambling to revive a profession that is almost on its last legs.
However, the ex-England international enjoyed a rare positive afternoon that gave a reminder of his quality that’s been stored away for a while.
A royally good afternoon for the Royals
He played an important role in Reading’s 1-1 draw with fellow relegation strugglers Barnsley on Saturday.
Josh Laurent’s late equaliser earned the Royals a possibly priceless point as they attempt to drag themselves away from the relegation zone.
Whilst Laurent stole the headlines, his midfield partner ran the show.
According to WhoScored.com, Drinkwater had 93 touches, the second-highest of anybody who took part in the contest.
He also made a game-high nine tackles, completed two interceptions and played one key pass.
Delight for Drinkwater
An all-round solid display that was rightly praised by Reading’s local media outlets.
“The loanee’s best performance in a Reading shirt, Drinkwater stepped into Andy Rinomhota’s shoes seamlessly,” wrote the Reading Chronicle.
“Strong in the tackle and smart on the ball, the former England international has come in for stick from Royals fans, but he won’t be for much longer if he continues with performances such as this.”
Get Reading added to the praise, giving him an 8/10 rating and a very decent evaluation.
“Controlled the midfield with fantastic reading of the game which allowed him to make some brilliantly timed challenges to win the ball back and break up play.”
These type of reviews made Drinkwater such an enticing prospect when he left Leicester City for the bright lights of Stamford Bridge five years ago.
Having recently won the Premier League with the Foxes, his move to Chelsea seemed like a logical step in the right direction.
In hindsight, the transfer turned out to be the completely wrong decision.
The Manchester United academy graduate has only featured 23 times for the European Champions, largely owed to several loans and trips to the treatment room.
For some reason, the club continue to renew his contract before sending him on the road again.
Surely this summer is the final curtain for Drinkwater as a Chelsea player.
We wish you well Danny, sorry it didn’t work out.