Antonio Rudiger believes his return to senior action for Chelsea is on the horizon following a week in which he has been fully involved in training and played 90 minutes for our development squad.

The German international suffered a knee injury at Old Trafford back in April that has kept him sidelined throughout the summer and into the early part of 2019/20, however his recovery has stepped up in recent weeks and he is now targeting a return to Frank Lampard’s team.

‘I’ve been back for almost two weeks with the team and I’m feeling better each day but of course there is still game fitness missing, which is what I need to get better,’ the 26-year-old told the official Chelsea website.

‘I know I need to be patient. There’s no need to rush anything at the moment because we have a long season to go. You have to go day by day and that is what I’m doing.’

Rudiger featured for Andy Myers’s young Blues at Stamford Bridge on Monday night in a 3-0 Premier League 2 win over Liverpool. The competitive run-out was an important part of the defender’s rehabilitation and he claimed match minutes will be crucial in taking him closer to full fitness.

‘I have to test myself before I play in the Premier League,’ he continued. ‘It was good to be back on the pitch because in the game there is no holding back and that is what I need to get better and get fit. I was very pleased and thankful to the development team for having me there.

‘I hadn’t played any game for three months so I had full motivation and also a desire to play with respect for the young guys. As a senior player, you have to lead by example and with your actions, not just by talking.’

Less than 48 hours later, Rudiger was back at the Bridge for our open training session on Wednesday morning and trained fully with the group. He was delighted at the opportunity to train in front of thousands of Chelsea supporters, an experience that is more common overseas than in England.

‘Since I’ve been here, it was the first time that we trained at Stamford Bridge with the fans and it was nice for everyone,’ added Rudiger.

‘It’s different for us because in England you’re used to training all the time in private so it was good and a lovely day for it as well.’