Schwarzer says Antonio Rudiger is 'not good enough for Chelsea'

Former Blues goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer believes Frank Lampard has made a mistake in reintegrating Antonio Rudiger back into the Chelsea team.

The 27-year-old’s inclusion in the Chelsea starting line-up in the 2-0 defeat against Leicester City last Tuesday certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Having previously been a rotational centre-back since the start of the season, he suddenly got into the team ahead of Kurt Zouma.

Unlike the Morecambe and Fulham games, the trip to King Power Stadium was seen as a crucial point for Chelsea to make a statement. They failed.

Schwarzer has criticised Lampard’s decision to make a sudden change and made a bold claim about the Germany international.

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“I’m very surprised Rudiger’s back in the side,” he told Stadium Astro.

“Because I actually don’t think he’s that great a defender.

“I don’t think that he’s good enough for Chelsea and I think he’s had enough of opportunities at Chelsea.

“Yes, last season and the season before he had quite a lot of injury issues.

“But Kurt Zouma next to [Thiago] Silva is the best combination — they’ve shown it a couple of weeks ago how good they are together.

“Of course, you are going to have a dip in form sometimes and [I think they should] keep it simple.”

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Chronicle view

While Rudiger’s being “not good enough for Chelsea” was perhaps too harsh, Schwarzer also made a good point about Lampard’s team selection.

Lampard has established Zouma and Silva as his first-choice centre-back pairing up until a couple of weeks ago, and it was quite strange that he suddenly changed his mind.

He might have wanted to use Rudiger’s influence in the dressing room to add leadership on the pitch, but it clearly didn’t pay off in the end.

As many have pointed out before, Lampard seems to be unsure about his best XI — or perhaps, he was just trying out new ideas after recent poor results, and it backfired.

A Chelsea fan who loves football statistics. Studied sports journalism at the University of Sunderland.