Drinkwater situation could happen to anyone - Burnley boss Dyche

Danny Drinkwater
Danny Drinkwater

Sean Dyche believes what happened to Danny Drinkwater could happen to anyone.

And he is surprised there are not more such unfortunate incidents involving footballers away from the game.

In an era where no one’s private lives are private, with social media and camera phones prevalent in society, the Burnley boss expects there to be scenarios where players can become embroiled in trouble, whether looking for it or not.

And he certainly isn’t judging Danny Drinkwater, after the on-loan midfielder suffered an ankle injury in an attack outside a Manchester club after the defeat at home to Liverpool two weeks ago.

Drinkwater was set on by a gang of six, after a disagreement over his flirting with Scunthorpe United player Kgosi Ntlhe’s girlfriend at the Chinawhite club.

Asked whether there was ever a chance he would send Drinkwater back to parent club Chelsea, Dyche said: “You would have to do something really unacceptable rather than have a spat over an incident, on a night where something like that can happen.

“That could happen to anyone in this room. You can have a spat at any given time in life over anything.

“I don’t think there was the case for that. I try to be realistic, not just about footballers, but about real life.

“I’ve seen enough scrapes in my life come out of just an innocent moment.

“It suddenly turns into a scrape, suddenly turns into a situation, out of almost nothing. So I’m not thinking this is one of those occasions.

“There are certain levels it might get to that – I hope it never does – but if there was something that got to a level where it was absolutely unacceptable, that’s different.

“But there’s always someone out there wanting to film you, or take a photo.

“The world has gone mad, and there are likely to be incidents like this – in fact I’m surprised there’s not more of them.”

Drinkwater is serving a 20-month driving ban after admitting drink driving in May, and Dyche added: “I can’t comment on the drink-driving one, it wasn’t under my situation. But I presume he had no choice but to accept that because he got banned for a year and a half - as you should.

“This one, I don’t think it was the highlight of his weekend, that’s for sure. I think he knows, at his age – he’s 29 now – he has to mind what he’s doing and be in the right place rather than the wrong place.

“But like I said, he’s a human being. And sometimes, when things aren’t right for you on the pitch they do manifest themselves into something off it too.

“Not necessarily by getting into trouble, but I had it in my career where things just don’t feel right.

“If things are not working for and you’re not playing – because when you pay football for so many years, that buzz of playing kind of levels you out.

“And when that’s not there, and it’s not there for a long time, you question everything, and it can sometimes drop you out of kilter a little bit.

“I must make it clear that doesn’t mean you go out and get yourself in trouble, of course.

“But it’s funny how when things are working for you on the pitch, everything seems a bit calmer off the pitch. The two are closely combined, and you have to get both right.

“You need to get the person right first, which is what I intend to help to do, or certainly help, so that he feels right about himself, and that should translate onto the pitch.

“If that’s your belief – and it is mine – it’s what you aim for.

“So I’ll be working with him, getting him fit, helping him, guiding him back to where he wants to be.

“And if he gets back to where he wants to be, there’s a chance then that he can affect us in a positive way.”

So is Drinkwater in a better place moving forward?: “You can’t tell, there‘s no way. It’s about actions. Taking action.

“My responsibility is to give him the chance to take action, and lay down some of the guidelines, his responsibility is to deliver it.

“He has to show that yes, I’m ready to take on all the challenges that come along in my life. It’s for him to take action and grasp what he has to do.

“He hasn’t played much football, not even reserve football, so e needed games.

“His biggest challenge now is that he’s missed two games during the international break, that Robbie Brady played in.

“We were hoping they were two games Drinky would play in, but unfortunately because of the twist in his ankle he couldn’t play in them.

“So we’ve discussed the off the pitch thing. The on the pitch thing, this has put him back a bit because he’s got to get the ankle right again, and catch up on the games.”