Pat Nevin says Antonio Rudiger’s performances have gone under the radar this season but the Chelsea FC legend believes the German defender is the best man marker in the Premier League.
The 25-year-old produced a composed performance in the Chelsea FC defence in the FA Cup final at Wembley last weekend after the Blues edged to a 1-0 win over Manchester United at the home of English football.
Rudiger helped Antonio Conte’s side to keep a clean sheet after Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez and Jesse Lingard struggled to find a way past the Blues defence before Romelu Lukaku’s introduction in the second half.
The £34m signing was widely praised for his exceptional performance in Chelsea FC’s 1-0 win against top-four rivals Liverpool FC earlier this month after Rudiger managed to keep Salah under wraps at Stamford Bridge.
Rudiger has scored three goals and has made two assists in 44 appearances in all competitions in his first season at Chelsea FC following his big-money move from AS Roma last season.
Former Chelsea FC winner Nevin believes Rudiger has been excellent in his debut campaign in the Premier League.
“I totally agreed with the choice made at Wembley for Man of the Match. Antonio Rudiger has managed to stay under the radar of many Premier League watchers outside of Stamford Bridge,” Rudiger told Chelsea FC’s website.
“I was beginning to get fed up with the sneering looks I was getting from some when I said he was probably the best proponent of the art of pure defending in the Premier League at the moment. That has now changed.”
He added: “The secret is now out. In short, if Rudiger is marking you then you might as well pass the ball because neither you nor anyone else is going to get past him in a one-on-one battle.
“It doesn’t seem to matter if they try to outpace him or use outrageous skills, one after the other the top players have found out pretty quickly that it’s a bit pointless even trying.
This game provided the final evidence if any was needed, Antonio Rudiger is now a cult figure with the Chelsea fans and it is almost unthinkable not starting him in any game that has meaning at all.”
Chelsea FC finished in fifth place in the Premier League table this season to miss out on a Champion League qualification spot.