Germany defender Antonio Rudiger believes he is stepping up to a new level at Chelsea and is relishing working under Antonio Conte at Stamford Bridge.
Rudiger joined the reigning Premier League champions from Roma in a deal that could rise to be worth £34million, shortly after making four appearances in Germany’s triumphant Confederations Cup campaign.
Chelsea will depart for their pre-season tour in China on Monday, while Rudiger is looking forward to getting acquainted with new team-mates such as Victor Moses and Marcos Alonso – players whose improvements in Conte’s wing-back system last season showcased the Italian’s prowess as a coach.
“Not to be disrespectful but we speak about Roma and Chelsea… Chelsea is a big club,” the 24-year-old said at a promotional event in Tokyo.
“Roma is a big club too, in Italy, but I think Chelsea is a different level and of course the biggest reason [for his move] was the coach, Antonio Conte.
“I played in Italy and I spoke with a couple of team-mates – for example [Daniele] De Rossi – and he told me a lot about Antonio Conte and [his quality] is visible.
“You saw it last season, in the seasons before at Juventus and with Italy as national coach. He is a fantastic coach because he has improved a lot of players like Alonso and Moses – they played a great, great season.
“That’s why I thought, ‘I want to be part of that’.”
Rudiger’s physically imposing style is expected to be well-suited to the Premier League, but the centre-back is taking nothing for granted.
“I can’t say anything because I have not played in the Premier League,” he added. “We will see when I play my first game. But, from the television, it’s a fast game, a physical game.”