Garth Crooks has claimed he thinks Antonio Rudiger is the “greatest defensive asset” at Chelsea right now.
Rudiger, who earns £100,000-a-week, has played every minute at the start of the new season for the Blues.
The 28-year-old centre-back was part a superb defensive performance at the weekend as they earned a 1-1 draw away to Liverpool at Anfield.
He’s a no-nonsense defender who’s aggressive in his work, something which has really gone up a notch since Thomas Tuchel became manager at the start of the calendar year.
BBC pundit Crooks named the Germany international in his latest edition of Premier League Team of the Week after his Liverpool display.
He added that he’s the elite defender right now at Stamford Bridge.
“Blues manager Thomas Tuchel summed it up when he said his team showed great resilience and spirit [against Liverpool] – no-one more so than Rudiger,” Crooks told BBC Sport.
“I have been saying for some time now this player is Chelsea’s greatest defensive asset.
“When he was booked in the first half I thought he was odds on to receive a second yellow, but Rudiger proved to be far too smart for that. Under Tuchel, the German centre-back has got better.”
Antonio Rudiger is one of the first names in Chelsea XI
For Chelsea, a switch to a back-three has allowed so many of their defenders to thrive.
For example, captain Cesar Azpilicueta has reignited his role as a right-sided centre-back to put in consistent quality performances. In addition, left wing-back Marcos Alonso looks far more assured in the system. Also, Andreas Christensen is brilliant in any centre-half position.
However, Rudiger appears to be the nailed-on starter in the defence.
The powerhouse plays as the left-sided centre-back and it looks like he loves defending.
He does an excellent job sweeping up danger in his quadrant of the pitch, so it helps gives real confidence to the team when they’ve got a warrior like him at the back.
It’s hard to find a more in-form defender across Europe over the last few months.
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