Andy Townsend singles out ‘inspirational’ Chelsea star after Champions League win vs Zenit

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Antonio Rudiger is 'inspirational' for Chelsea, says Andy Townsend

Antonio Rudiger is ‘inspirational’ for Chelsea, says Andy Townsend (REX/Shutterstock)

Andy Townsend believes Antonio Rudiger is ‘inspirational’ for Chelsea and says the defender is now an integral part of Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Rudiger was frozen out of the team during Frank Lampard’s reign but since Thomas Tuchel arrived in January, the Germany international has been an almost ever-present at the heart of Chelsea’s defence.

The 28-year-old delivered another impressive performance on Tuesday evening as Chelsea got off to a winning start in the Champions League with a 1-0 victory over Zenit.

And Townsend has highlighted Rudiger’s importance to Chelsea’s plans.

‘You can’t imagine a successful Chelsea team without him,’ Townsend said during commentary for talkSPORT.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Rudiger after the UEFA Champions League, group H match at Stamford Bridge, London. Picture date: Tuesday September 14, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Chelsea. Photo credit should read: John Walton/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only, no commercial use without prior consent from rights holder.

Antonio Rudiger impressed as Chelsea sealed a 1-0 victory over Zenit in the Champions League (PA)

‘He’s got those inspirational qualities, he gets people off their seats as a centre-half! There aren’t too many that do that.

‘Every now and again he goes crazy and tries to hit one, blazing it out onto the King’s Road.

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‘But he’s just got that about him. He wants it. He wants to make something happen for the team when it’s all gone a bit quiet.

‘And defensively, very few players get the better of him.’

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