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Antonio Rudiger is Chelsea’s best centre-back if fit as the combination of Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma hasn’t clicked. The duo are yet to form a good partnership and have shipped in seven goals in the three competitive games the Blues have played this season.
However, Rudiger hasn’t kicked a ball since the closing stages of last season. The 26-year-old German international missed the final weeks of last season after hurting his knee in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford in April.
Rudiger impressed as he played 90 minutes for the development squad in the 3-0 win over Liverpool, and is now set to play for the senior team.
Speaking after the game, Rudiger has revealed the importance of testing himself with the U23 squad before returning to the senior team.
“I have to test myself before I play in the Premier League,” he told the official Chelsea website.
“It was good to be back on the pitch because in the game there is no holding back and that is what I need to get better and get fit. I was very pleased and thankful to the development team for having me there.
“I hadn’t played any game for three months so I had full motivation and also a desire to play with respect for the young guys. As a senior player, you have to lead by example and with your actions, not just by talking.”
Rudiger took part in Chelsea’s open training session that saw about 5000 fans come to Stamford Bridge to watch the team train.
“Since I’ve been here, it was the first time that we trained at Stamford Bridge with the fans and it was nice for everyone,” added Rudiger.
“It’s different for us because in England you’re used to training all the time in private so it was good and a lovely day for it as well.”