Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is confident of being able to make his return to action sooner rather than later after recovering from a knee injury he suffered in April during a Premier League clash with Manchester United.
Rudiger underwent surgery to fix the problem and has missed the start of the 2019/20 season. Fears over his absence were increased when David Luiz was allowed to leave for Arsenal earlier this month, with Chelsea also unable to new sign players.
However, having sat out only the club’s first three games of the new campaign, the German international appears ready to get back on the pitch.
“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,” he told ChelseaFC.com.
“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 played 90 minutes for Chelsea’s Under-23 team on Monday in a 3-0 win over Liverpool in Premier League 2, an invaluable step on his road to recovery and full fitness.
“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,” the player commented.
In Rudiger’s absence, Andreas Christensen and Kurt Zouma have been partnered at the centre of defence. Home-grown starlet Fikayo Tomori, who is still completely untested at top-flight level, is the only other recognised centre-back in the first-team squad.
It remains to be seen whether manager Frank Lampard will turn to Rudiger for this weekend’s Premier League fixture against a Norwich side that have impressed so far this season. Chelsea will then face Sheffield United next weekend, before pausing for the international break.