Rudiger: Bringing out the best

Toni Rudiger has started all three league games so far under Maurizio Sarri but the German international acknowledges there is strong competition for places throughout the team.

Just two changes have been made to the side by our new head coach so far during the 100 per cent start to collecting Premier League points. Those were Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic coming into the line-up for the weekend win at Newcastle. Both performed admirably in the 2-1 win, and with the likes of Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen and young Ethan Ampadu also pushing for places in central defence and international players also vying for the full-back slots, it is not only the attack and midfield where there is plenty of pressure from within the squad to perform.

‘Competition brings out the best in everyone, it is good like that,’ notes Rudiger. He was asked about Hazard returning after the two previous games when the Belgian came on as a sub.

‘I think for the coach it is not the easiest choice because at the front you have really good, quality players and of course Eden is one of them, and also to have Willian on the bench is not easy for the coach and yes, I think it is good to have many options.

‘For the attacking players it was good [at Newcastle], because we mostly had the ball and that is good for those type of players. To make those players defend, it is not their strength but with players like Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante, it is a good mix because those two players they can attack but they can also defend as well.’

Rudiger, from his position at the heart of the back four, is well-placed to observe the balance in front of him in midfield.

‘It is very good because it is good to always have the ball but it is normal also you lose the ball and we need quick players to also come back. N’Golo and Mateo do very good and Jorginho is one of our target players, he is very comfortable on the ball and that is good.’