Conte praises Chelsea player's honesty during worldwide break

Antonio Conte defends Danny Drinkwater after midfielder declined England call-up

Antonio Conte defends Danny Drinkwater after midfielder declined England call-up

Antonio Conte believes Gareth Southgate could have avoided the "misunderstanding" that led to Danny Drinkwater receiving criticism for his failure to join up with England last week.

Southgate's England squad for the friendlies included Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham, on loan at Crystal Palace and Swansea, respectively. He was injured and also I think he wasn't really 100 per cent fit to go with the national team.

"If someone asks me this then I can explain and if the coach wants to take the same decision, it is okay, but it is important to have more of a relationship between the [club's] coach and the coach of the national team".

Drinkwater is yet to start a Premier League game this season, thanks to his calf problem which has hindered his role for the Blues so far this season.

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte has described claims that Danny Drinkwater turned down a place in Gareth Southgate's most recent England squad as a "misunderstanding".

Conte says that he would like to help the national team managers when it comes to selecting Chelsea players because he knows the difficulties they can face from his own experiences in Italy.

The 48-year-old told reporters: "It's a pity that a player had to pay for this misunderstanding". Drinkwater was very honest and he doesn't deserve to be attacked from the press or from the public because he was very honest. "In this situation every single player wants to go with the national team and we have to appreciate his behaviour and commitment".

"First of all, I was very happy for these calls with the national team", he added. If I call a young player during World Cup qualifier it means that I think this is one thing.

And Conte can not fathom why the midfielder was criticised - with some saying his World Cup hopes should now be over - or why Southgate did not call him directly.

"He went with the national team and then came back with this problem", Conte said of Batshuayi.

"Now he is not available for the national team and also us". I was a coach in the national team and this is the right moment to try to find and give the opportunities to young players. It is better to speak with the doctor about this situation.

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