The Blues defender has started every Premier League match for his side this season and he is becoming an increasingly key player at the club
Antonio Rudiger says he is in no rush to renew his Chelsea contract, but has stressed he is happy with life at Stamford Bridge.
The 25-year-old is one of five players to have started every Premier League match under Maurizio Sarri this season and appears to be relishing his role in a back four again.
Chelsea followed up last week’s win over Manchester City with a 2-1 away victory against Brighton on Sunday, with Rudiger involved as the defence held firm under a late surge from the hosts to find the equaliser.
The Germany international is highly regarded at Stamford Bridge and his contract renewal is thought to be a topic on Chelsea’s radar , but Rudiger insists that he is not yet in negotiations with his club, just 18 months after he joined from Roma.
“I think there is no need. I still have three and a half years to go,” Rudiger said at the Amex Stadium. “I like it here, but there is no speaking between me and the club. It is not necessary at the moment. I am trying to do my best, improve day by day, game by game.
“That’s what I’m all about. Of course, this season is going well for me personally, but there is always space to improve.”
Rudiger’s influence on the team has been talked up by his central defensive partner David Luiz, with the pair having started all but one of their side’s league games together.
Luiz is enjoying a new lease of life under Sarri having been pushed to the fringes towards the end of last season as former manager Antonio Conte’s time at the helm drew to a close.
The Brazilian admits that Rudiger is easy to play with, but also praised all five of the club’s centre-halves who are vying for just two positions.
“He is a great player,” Luiz said of Rudiger. “He is still young, he is powerful and he has humility, and he wants to learn every day. It is easy to play with him and also it is amazing to play with the other three.
“I think that we work hard every day to have this connection. Not just with Antonio but with Gary Cahill, Andreas Christensen and Ethan Ampadu. I think that in this kind of philosophy, we have to be ready to defend as a collective team but also in individual moments.
“I think every year, it is the same. It is a big club and we don’t have just two names for this position, we have four or five names. I think it is normal and great for us. We have five fantastic players.”
Although Luiz talked up his understudies, it is clear that his partnership with Rudiger has made it difficult for his team-mates to earn a starting place at Chelsea. Ampadu only started his first Blues game of the season on Thursday against MOL Vidi in the Europa League, while it is also looking like Cahill could leave the club in January.
Christensen also admitted he was “not happy” with his current level of game time. However, Sarri’s choices have brought success to the early part of his Chelsea career which sees his club comfortably in the top four and with a Premier League title win still possible.
Rudiger urged caution after the victory over Brighton, though, as he spoke about his side’s difficulty to get over the weak mentality that Sarri has complained about in recent weeks.
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“I think in the first half we did well and what we wanted, but the second we were a bit passive,” Rudiger concluded. “Brighton noticed that, we moved the ball too slow and we gave the opportunity to the other side.
“I think we didn’t dominate them [Wolves] so much in the first half like we did yesterday, but it is something we have to work on, to change our mentality. Even though we were winning 2-0 we need to learn to kill the match earlier.
“At the end of the day we are all human. Of course, there will be spells of 10-15 minutes [when other teams will get their chance], but in this league, these 10-15 minutes can be long.”