Pat Nevin argued that Antonio Rudiger is probably the finest man marker in world football currently, speaking on MAH.

Rudiger has romped back into contention under Thomas Tuchel after being left out to dry by Frank Lampard.

His recent performances have earned the right to be one of the first names scribbled down on the Blues team sheet.

FC Porto v Chelsea - UEFA Champions League
SEVILLE, SPAIN – APRIL 7: Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea during the UEFA Champions League match between FC Porto v Chelsea at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on April 7, 2021 in Seville Spain (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)

A commanding presence at centre-back, Rudiger instals a ruthlessness to the defence that none of his comrades can quite match.

Nevin recognised that the 28-year-old had an invaluable skill that made him such a precious commodity for Chelsea.      

The former Blues winger said: “Toni (Rudiger) is decent on the ball, he’s not the best I’ve ever seen.

“But as a marker, as a killer, as a destroyer of attackers, I don’t think there’s many better in world football than him. He is an absolute brilliant man to man defender.”

FBL-ENG-PR-LIVERPOOL-CHELSEA
Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger (R) tackles Liverpool’s Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (L) during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on March 4, 2021. (Photo by PHIL NOBLE / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by PHIL NOBLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

There is seemingly a shift away from the ‘traditional’ centre-half that simply loves to head, kick and tackle his opponents.

Players in that position are now trained to be elegant in possession. Worrying about protecting their own goal is now secondary.

Not for Rudiger. The giant German loves a physical battle, like the one he enjoyed against Luis Suarez during Chelsea’s Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid.

FBL-EUR-C1-ATLETICO-CHELSEA
Atletico Madrid’s Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (L) and Chelsea’s German defender Antonio Rudiger argue during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Chelsea at the Arena Nationala stadium in Bucharest on February 23, 2021. (Photo by Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP via Getty Images)

It is this merciless nature that has been so beneficial to Tuchel’s tightening of his rear guard.

Since he took over in January, the Blues have kept 13 clean sheets from a possible 17 games. Rudiger’s been involved in 11 of them.

His next task is to try and stop Porto’s attackers later today, where Chelsea is aiming to make it into a European semi-final.

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here.

Have something to tell us about this article?