Frank Lampard told Chelsea FC need Antonio Rudiger's 'passion' and 'loyalty'
BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks reckons Chelsea FC need Antonio Rudiger in their starting XI
Antonio Rudiger has a big role to play in the Chelsea FC team in their Premier League title challenge, according to BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks.
The Germany international has endured a slow start to the 2020-21 Premier League season after Rudiger inexplicably fell out of favour under Frank Lampard.
Rudiger has been a regular in Lampard’s team in the former England international’s first season in charge of the west London outfit.
However, the 27-year-old was omitted from the Chelsea FC squad for their opening games of the Premier League to prompt transfer speculation surrounding Rudiger’s future at the club.
The German defender featured in Chelsea FC’s victories over Krasnodar and Rennes in the Champions League as the west London side kept successive clean sheets.
Rudiger made his first Premier League appearance of the 2020-21 campaign in Chelsea FC’s 2-0 win against Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Saturday afternoon.
The German defender started ahead of Thiago Silva after Lampard opted to rest the centre-half following the 36-year-old’s long trip back to England from Brazil duty.
BBC Sport pundit Crooks believes Lampard will benefit from keeping Rudiger on side in the Premier League this season.
“Where has Rudiger been? He’s not been injured,” Crooks told BBC Sport.
“I don’t know what’s gone on between Rudiger and manager Frank Lampard but it can’t have been pretty.
“The German international has been out of the Chelsea starting line-up since the start of the season, while Chelsea were leaking goals like a sieve. Whatever happened now seems to be in the past and the relationship appears repaired.
“Rudiger, back in the side, looked like he’d never been away against Newcastle and played his part in another clean sheet for the Blues. He may not be in Thiago’s Silva’s class but his commitment to the cause is unquestionable.
“Chelsea will need his passion in the latter stages of the season and Lampard would do well not to lose that loyalty.”
Rudiger has scored six goals in 118 games in all competitions over the past three and a half seasons at Chelsea FC.
The Germany international has won the FA Cup and the Europa League since his move to Chelsea FC from Roma in 2017.
Chelsea FC will host Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.