When the Foxes brought in Gokhan Inler and N'Golo Kante over the summer transfer window, most expected Drinkwater to have a bit-part role to play this term.
However, the former Manchester United man has responded to the increased competition for places in the squad, and he has been one of the team's most consistent players over the campaign so far.
And Ranieri said: “He surprised me because we started to play two central midfielders and he started to play well. He does what I want and for me that is important. The time will arrive for [Andy] King and Inler I’m sure because the league is so long.
“In December we have to play every three days and then we need to sometimes refresh the team. It’s important who now is out is working hard, because sooner or later, I’ll need them.”
Drinkwater's partnership with Kante has been vital for Leicester, as they have made a hugely impressive start to the new term.
The Foxes are currently sat in fifth place in the Premier League table, and they have only lost one of their opening 10 matches.
The form of Jamie Vardy, who has scored 10 goals already this term, has captured the headlines, but Drinkwater's displays have not gone unnoticed by those at the King Power Stadium.
Drinkwater will now be hoping to keep hold of his place for the foreseeable future, as he knows any dip in his performances levels could see him fall out of contention.