‘Break his legs’: Star battered by thugs
England's Danny Drinkwater was battered by thugs after trying to bed another footballer's lover.
The Chelsea star, 29, on loan at Burnley, clashed with the a fellow player after boozing heavily at Manchester's Chinawhite club.
He was thrown out by security before a gang of up to six men attacked him with a blunt object. "It was incredibly nasty with blood everywhere," a source said.
Thugs jumped on the footballer's ankle in the vicious nightclub attack and chanted: "Break his legs."
The deliberate attempt to wreck the troubled England star's career came after he tried to chat up a rival player's lover.
Drunken Drinkwater was overheard crowing: "I don't care, mate, she's coming home with me."
When Scunthorpe United's Kgosi Ntlhe asked him to leave his girlfriend alone, the £35 million-rated midfielder Drinkwater lashed out.
The pair scuffled before bouncers at Manchester's Chinawhite club ejected Drinkwater. Outside up to six men jumped on him, leaving him with "horrendous" injuries.
"At one point he was curled up in a ball on the ground, as they repeatedly jumped up and down on his ankle and shouting, 'Break his legs'," a source said.
"They knew he was a Premier League star and it was his livelihood. There was blood everywhere, and it was all incredibly nasty."
Drinkwater, capped three times by England, is currently on loan at Burnley from Chelsea.
Last week both clubs would only say he had been sidelined by a mystery ankle injury.
But we can reveal he was the victim of a vicious assault early last Sunday - hours after he was an unused sub in the 3-0 home defeat by Liverpool.
Drinkwater suffered torn ankle ligaments in the attack, ruling him out of action for up to a month.
He was also left with a black eye, severely swollen forehead, bruised shoulders and arms, and cut cheek.
Police were not called to the incident and the Three Lions ace did not report it.
There is no suggestion that South African-born defender Ntlhe, 25, was involved in the attack.
"Danny had been celebrating a friend's birthday and by his own admission got incredibly drunk," a source told The Sun on Sunday.
"He knows he has let himself down big time. He was extremely drunk and to be honest doesn't remember much of the incident. His mate had to fill him in the next day.
'HE IS MORTIFIED'
"Danny repeatedly tried to chat up a stunning girl in the club and wouldn't leave her alone.
"He tried it on a few times before she told him to shut up by saying she was there with her boyfriend. He confronted Danny in the club, and punches were thrown.
"Both men were kicked out, and while Danny was outside things turned really ugly.
"Some other lads really started on him. After a series of verbal exchanges they knocked him to the ground. He was then hit with an object about the face and body. They were raining blows on him and jumping on his ankle.
"Danny is absolutely mortified now and realises he can no longer put himself in a position where these incidents happen, regardless of who is at fault.
"He had been focused on performing for Burnley and understands people will now question this. He is devastated. His injuries were significant. He looks a total mess."
A friend of Drinkwater - thought to be a Burnley teammate - managed to lift him up from the pavement and put him in a taxi.
On Sunday morning Drinkwater was horrified to see how he looked in the mirror - realising the trouble he would be in if bosses worked out how he had suffered his injuries.
He flew to Spain until the swelling around his face went down. He spent yesterday lying low - and was spotted sporting a new tattoo.
"Danny didn't want the extent of his injuries emerging which is why he fled to Spain. He fudged it a bit with Burnley and just said he'd been set upon," an insider said.
"Danny is worried how his manager Sean Dyche react but he is adamant he was just as much a victim in all of this."
Burnley FC said his injury occurred away from the training ground.
A physio has told Drinkwater he could face up to four weeks on the sidelines after suffering ankle ligament damage in the assault.
"Danny accepts he put himself in a position where he can be criticised. He will take on the chin the criticism that comes his way," last night a spokesman for Drinkwater said.
"He knows he cannot allow himself to be targeted, and has to take himself away from these situations.
"He will address the concerns of those at the club privately, and honestly."
Drinkwater has not played in the Premier League for 18 months.
In May, he was banned from driving for 20 months after ploughing his Range Rover through a wall while twice the legal drink-drive limit.
He has a son with a woman from Wilmslow, Cheshire. But she dumped him after accusing him of cheating.
The star, staying in the nearby village of Nether Alderley, has also fallen out with some of his "exasperated" family.
He showed promise when making his debut for the Clarets in the Carabao Cup defeat to Sunderland on August 28.
The star, thought to be on £100,000 a week, was due to play for Burnley's under-23s against QPR on Monday but took no part.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard allowed him out on loan until January to get regular football after getting frozen out by previous boss Maurizio Sarri for the Italian's entire time at Stamford Bridge.
Drinkwater won the Premier League title with Leicester City in 2016. That March he made his England debut and was named man of the match in the 2-1 defeat to the Netherlands at Wembley.
In 2017 he was transferred to Chelsea for £35 million where he signed a lucrative five-year contract.
But his career has since failed to take off.
In November 2017 Drinkwater declined a call-up for England's games against Brazil and Germany - leading pundit Alan Shearer to claim he had the wrong attitude and should not play for the Three Lions again.
Last month Drinkwater vowed it was "time to get my career back on track" - but his latest off-the-pitch injury has caused further problems.
Sources say he is due to return to the UK later this week.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.