Andy Townsend has claimed he can’t imagine a successful Chelsea team without key defender Antonio Rudiger.

Rudiger, who joined the Blues for £29million over four years ago, has been in the form of his career during 2021. 

The 28-year-old centre-back has been playing out of his skin since Thomas Tuchel arrived as Chelsea manager in January, so a lot of credit must go to him.

A switch to a back-three system has seen Rudiger thrive as the left-sided centre-half. 

He dominates his area of the pitch with high intensity defending that is both physical and aggressive. In addition, he offers something on the ball when playing forward. 

Ex-Chelsea player Townsend has highlighted the importance of the Germany international at Stamford Bridge, claiming his former club need him to be successful. 

“You can’t imagine a successful Chelsea team without him,” Townsend said.

“He’s got those inspirational qualities, he gets people off their seats as a centre-half! There aren’t too many that do that.

 

“Every now and again he goes crazy and tries to hit one, blazing it out onto the King’s Road.

“But he’s just got that about him. He wants it. He wants to make something happen for the team when it’s all gone a bit quiet.

“And defensively, very few players get the better of him.”

Chelsea FC v Zenit St. Petersburg: Group H - UEFA Champions League
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Rudiger is one of the Chelsea undroppables

For Tuchel, he’s got so much talent in his Chelsea squad that he can field two different XIs that you’d expect to be extremely competitive in any fixture. 

However, there are a few individuals that are surely in that best XI without question. 

Rudiger, along with goalkeeper Edouard Mendy and centre-forward Romelu Lukaku, are the names that instantly spring to mind. You could argue Mason Mount, Jorginho, N’Golo Kante and Cesar Azpilicueta fit into this bracket, too. 

The influence of Rudiger at the back is so pivotal, which is why he’s played every minute of the 2021/22 season so far. 

He’s everything Tuchel wants from his team in terms of ferocity and it feels like he’s been delivering 8/10 performances every week this year.

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