Chelsea legend Pat Nevin spoke about the freedom that Thomas Tuchel allows centre-back Antonio Rudiger to have on the pitch.

It is safe to say that the 28-year-old has established himself among the world’s elite defenders since Tuchel took over back in January.

Recently, Owen Hargreaves even argued that he is one of the two Chelsea irreplaceable players in Tuchel’s team.

Rudiger obviously deserves a lot of credit for his resurgence after being pushed out of the team under Frank Lampard.

However, Tuchel has also played a significant part.


The former Paris Saint-Germain manager’s 3-4-3 system seems to suit Rudiger perfectly.

As Nevin also pointed out, Tuchel also gives Rudiger the licence to express his aggressive play style, which is somewhat of a luxury to most defenders.

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League
(Photo by Charlotte Wilson/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Rudiger’s licence to roam at Chelsea

“Toni Rudiger may have blazed the glorious opportunity over the bar in the last seconds against United,” Nevin told the club’s official website.

“But what on earth was he doing at the back post in the first place, in a breakaway, that he had started with a tackle in the vicinity of his own box?

“Not forgetting his lash against the bar in the first half, this is a man who has been given the licence to roam.

“There are coaches out there who would tell you never to do this!”

“I well remember Ricardo Carvalho bounding away ball at feet on another break, only to see him look over to the touchline to find Jose Mourinho glowering with a look that clearly said, ‘Don’t you dare leave your defensive post, pass it to someone and get back.’

“There is no right or wrong in that situation, but I know which method I prefer to watch.”

Chelsea v Manchester United - Premier League
(Photo by Andy Rain – Pool/Getty Images)

To put it into perspective, most of Rudiger’s attempts to pressure opponents come in the middle and the final third of the pitch (via FBRef).

Tuchel himself recently spoke about his team’s “invisible work” off the ball and used the Germany international as an example.

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