Belfast Telegraph

Lampard dismisses Rudiger's fitness claim

 

No go: Antonio Rudiger
No go: Antonio Rudiger

By Ed Elliott

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has dismissed suggestions defender Antonio Rudiger is ready to return from injury after the player declared himself fit.

Centre-back Rudiger has endured an injury-plagued start to the season and managed just one appearance under Lampard.

The 26-year-old Germany international, who had knee surgery during the summer before sustaining a pelvic problem, has been quoted as saying he was available to boost the Blues' options ahead of today's game at Watford.

But Lampard has contradicted that assessment and says Rudiger is scheduled to undergo further assessment early next week.

"No, he's not fit. I saw the quotes, whether there was a miscommunication somewhere, he's not fit," said Lampard. "He's going to see a consultant on Monday because he has an ongoing issue in his pelvic area which is bothering him so I was a bit surprised by the quotes."

Lampard, who saw his side's seven-match winning run ended by Manchester United in the Carabao Cup in midweek, also remains without N'Golo Kante.

France midfielder Kante has not featured since before the last international break because of a groin issue but is closing in on a return.

Lampard is keen to have the influential pair back in contention as soon as possible.

"Every player in the squad that's not available is disappointing but it comes with the territory," said Lampard.

"We'll keep going and as soon as both of them are fit - N'Golo's close, he's working with the team now - we'll be all the better for that."

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