Following a knee surgery in April, Antonio Rudiger was expected to return by mid-September and it looks like he's right on track, if not a bit ahead. He was even named on the bench against Liverpool in the Super Cup last Wednesday.
While he was kept off the match day squad against Leicester City last weekend, Rudiger seems to be in contention for the game against Norwich City on Saturday after having a nice run out in the Premier League 2 match against the U-23 Liverpool team along with fellow first team squad member Michy Batshuayi.
While Rudiger is slowly gaining some match fitness, it is important to not rush him back with a long season ahead.
“I’ve been back for almost two weeks with the team and I’m feeling better each day but of course there is still game fitness missing, which is what I need to get better I know I need to be patient.
“There’s no need to rush anything at the moment because we have a long season to go. You have to go day by day and that is what I’m doing.”
The intensity and nature of a Premier League game is much different to an U-23 game so not many conculsions regarding his fitness should be derived from his performance against the Liverpool U23s where he notched an assist and saw through the game comfortably, guiding the young players.
“I have to test myself before I play in the Premier League. 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.
Chelsea also hosted a rare open training session this week. As expected, plenty of eyes were on Rudiger and Callum Hudson-Odoi, two very important players from last season, who are expected to help Chelsea start collecting points and wins.
“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. 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.”
- Antonio Rudiger; source: Chelsea FC
After conceding 7 goals in the first 3 games in all competitions, Rudiger’s return will hopefully ensure more defensive solidity from Chelsea.