Antonio Rudiger has now played his first Chelsea minutes, coming on in the second half our final pre-season game in Asia, having joined up with the squad as recently as Tuesday.
Against Inter Milan on Saturday in Singapore, the German faced opposition he knows well having spent the past two seasons at one of the Italian club’s rivals Roma, the most recent under Inter’s new coach Luciano Spalletti. Now he has swapped Serie A for English top-flight football and anticipates change.
‘I cannot say much about the Premier League because I did not experience it yet,’ points out the 24-year-old, ‘but the Italian league is more tactical. You don’t have open games but here in England it is different, both teams are attacking the whole time so that is the main big difference, and of course the physical aspect in England.
‘I think the whole league is a big challenge so I need to be prepared for each game.’
It is a difference Rudiger welcomes. He began his senior career in his homeland at Stuttgart and having experienced Italy, he was ready to try another major league.
‘I wanted to play in the Premier League and it is now years that my name was linked to Chelsea,’ he notes. ‘Now I am here and I am very happy. I want to thank all of the people who made this come true.’