Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger has opened up on being deemed surplus to the club’s requirements under Frank Lampard before re-establishing himself.The German’s future at Stamford Bridge came under speculation after losing his place in the XI under Lampard, who told him he was no longer needed. Barring a groin injury, Rudiger was a regular during the former manager’s first season at the club but lost his place in the next.
From the start of the 2020-21 season in September till Lampard’s sacking at the end of January, Rudiger started only four Premier League games, prompting him to consider joining Thomas Tuchel at PSG. Reflecting on that period of his career, Rudiger told DAZN:
“I was no longer in the squad. I was told to leave but was never told directly. It got in my way. I was ready to go and wanted to go to Tuchel and PSG at the time. But that didn’t work out; everyone noticed what happened between Paris and Tuchel.
“Then I said to myself that I would wait until winter. Head down, train hard and show it to my critics -. When there was a crisis under Lampard at the end, he backed me.”
Once Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge, Rudiger was reinstated back into Chelsea’s lineup as the defender showed Lampard what he was missing, producing eye-catching displays.He has continued in the same vein this season too, by being among the best players in the Blues squad. Speaking about his motivation during the difficult phase under Lampard, the 29-year-old added:
“It wasn’t about Lampard or anyone else, just me. I wanted to prove it to myself. For me, my family and my closest circle, it was about showing that I still have the quality to keep up with the best.”
Rudiger is all set to leave Chelsea this summer after five seasons, though.