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Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger played 90 minutes for Chelsea’s U23 team against Tottenham U23 on Friday as he steps up his return to full fitness.
Rudiger is returning to full fitness having undergone surgery on his left knee four months ago.
He has not played for the Chelsea senior team since he suffered a knee injury in the 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford last season. He made his injury comeback against Liverpool U23s on August 19.
Kurt Zouma and Andreas Christensen have started in central defence in all of Chelsea’s games so far this season and with the Blues struggling to keep a clean sheet, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard will be happy to have Rudiger back for the Blues.
Rudiger was a mainstay in Chelsea’s defence last season and it will be fascinating to see if Lampard continues to stick with Zouma and Christensen in central defence or install Rudiger back into the team.
While Rudiger is getting closer to full fitness, Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante is currently sidelined with an ankle injury that forced him out of Chelsea’s win at Norwich last week.
Since arriving in England in 2015, Kante has had four years of nonstop football which has taken its toll on the midfielder and Lampard believes Kante needs a little bit of TLC.
“I think we’re in a phase,” Lampard said. “When I say about the four years, that’s just testament to how brilliant he’s been at this level. I remember it as a player myself.
“Sometimes it all comes on top and you get a couple of niggles, so you just have to clear the decks and get them right.
“I’m not worried at all about any of the long-term effects. It’s more can we show him a little bit of TLC?
“He’s got a pain in his ankle. It’s not a huge injury but can we get that right and then start afresh?
“He missed pre-season but the international break falls at the right time for him. I don’t expect any issues unless there is something I don’t know coming up.”