Garth Crooks raves about Chelsea FC defender Antonio Rudiger

BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks lavishes praise on Chelsea FC defender Antonio Rudiger

Thomas Tuchel
Thomas Tuchel (Photo: Screengrab)

Antonio Rudiger is Chelsea FC’s most-consistent defender under Thomas Tuchel, according to BBC Sport pundit Garth Crooks.

The Germany international has played a key role in Tuchel’s team over the past few months despite being frozen out of the Chelsea FC starting XI under the German head coach’s predecessor.

The Chelsea FC centre-half appeared to be heading towards a premature exit at Stamford Bridge after Rudiger fell down the pecking order at the west London side.

The former AS Roma defender was even linked with a move to Chelsea FC’s bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the 2020 summer transfer window.

Rudiger managed to restrict Real Madrid to one goal as Chelsea FC eased to a 3-1 aggregate win over Zinedine Zidane’s side in the Champions League semi-finals last week.

The 28-year-old has been ever present in the Chelsea FC team over the past few months to help the Blues reach the Champions League and the FA Cup final.

BBC Sport pundit Crooks believes Rudiger is the key player at the back for Tuchel and his Chelsea FC team.

“His performance against Real Madrid in midweek was outstanding,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“I have often said, the no-nonsense German international is the best defender in the club and his performances this season have proved it.

“I don’t know what took place between Frank Lampard and Rudiger during the early part of the season, when the German was left out for no apparent reason, but it seems to have cost Lampard dearly.

“Rudiger is the one consistent Chelsea defender who seems to be holding it all together for them at the moment.

“At 36, Thiago Silva is used sparingly, Cesar Azpilicueta comes in and out and so does Kurt Zouma, while Andreas Christensen is out injured. That leaves Rudiger and I wouldn’t mess with him.”

Rudiger has made 17 appearances in the Premier League in the current campaign, while the Chelsea FC defender made one assist in 10 games in the Champions League.

The Germany international moved to Chelsea FC in a £29m deal from AS Roma in the 2017 summer transfer window.

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