Ex-Chelsea and Leicester City star pays tribute to Barnsley and the Oakwell loan spell he 'absolutely loved'

Former Barnsley loanee Danny Drinkwater has admitted he “absolutely loved” his time at Oakwell.

The 33-year-old recently announced his retirement from playing following an underwhelming few years.

A product of Manchester United’s academy, Drinkwater spent time on loan at Barnsley during the 2011/12 season while on the books at Old Trafford.

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He made 18 appearances for the Reds, scoring once and registering six assists.

Danny Drinkwater spent time on loan at Barnsley early on in his career. Image: Clint Hughes/Getty ImagesDanny Drinkwater spent time on loan at Barnsley early on in his career. Image: Clint Hughes/Getty Images
Danny Drinkwater spent time on loan at Barnsley early on in his career. Image: Clint Hughes/Getty Images

It proved to be his final loan spell away from Manchester United, as a permanent move to Leicester City was wrapped up five months into his Oakwell spell.

Speaking about his Manchester United departure on The High Performance Podcast, Drinkwater said: “I went through the loan structure that's really beneficial as a player at a young age.

"I was about 21 I think. It was when I had a couple of unsuccessful loans that didn't really go to plan. Then, I was at Barnsley, which I absolutely loved. [I] loved that club.

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"Leicester [City] came in for a bid and then [Manchester] United were saying 'I think it's time'.”

His move to the Foxes proved to be the beginning of a golden chapter in his career.

Drinkwater helped Leicester escape the Championship before going on to star in their historic Premier League title-winning campaign.

A switch to Chelsea in 2017 put the brakes on the midfielder’s progress and his career fizzled out with a string of underwhelming loan stints.