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Rio Ferdinand Makes Surprise Choice For Premier League's Best Defender

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Rio Ferdinand Makes Surprise Choice For Premier League's Best Defender

Rio Ferdinand has named Antonio Rudiger as the best defender in the Premier League right now, ahead of the likes of Ruben Dias, Virgil van Dijk and Raphael Varane.

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The Premier League is awash with world class centre backs right now, with last season's top four all having brilliant defenders amongst their ranks.

Dias was the difference to Manchester City's defence last year, as they ran away with the Premier League title, Van Dijk's impact at Liverpool was huge, and his absence last season really showed that, and Manchester United will be hoping Varane can do the same for them this campaign and going forward.

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However Ferdinand, who was once part of arguably the league's greatest ever defensive partnership with Nemanja Vidic, thinks it's Chelsea's Rudiger who has been the best defender since Thomas Tuchel arrived in England at the beginning of 2021.

"Since Tuchel has come I think he’s arguably been the best centre-back," the former United defender said, via the Metro.

"I think him and Dias would have been close but the effect he has had on his team has been immense.

"Under Frank [Lampard] , it was evident he wasn’t Frank’s cup of tea. He didn’t really like him. There was rumours there were trying to put him in the market to be sold.

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"In Germany, he’s always been highly thought of. But when the manager doesn’t rate you and you can feel that, I don’t care who you are your confidence takes a beating and it’s hard to perform at that level."

Rudiger celebrates scoring against Spurs last Sunday. Image: PA Images
Rudiger celebrates scoring against Spurs last Sunday. Image: PA Images

The 28-year-old had fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge under Lampard, with Kurt Zouma often prefered ahead of him.

However the arrival of Tuchel changed things and the former Roma defender became an integral part of the defence, alongside Thiago Silva.

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The Blues do have to be careful though, as Rudiger's contract is due to expire at the end of this season, when he could leave for nothing, and obviously Tuchel is hoping they can sort it.

Rudiger has become extremely important under Tuchel. Image: PA Images
Rudiger has become extremely important under Tuchel. Image: PA Images

"I hope that they [the board] find solutions, but it’s not only between coaches and players, and what we wish for and that’s why it’s between the club, the players and the agent at the moment," the Champions League winning boss said on the subject.

"We hope that they find the solution and everything I can say, he plays excellent, and since a long time very consistent, on a very high level.

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"I feel him very calm and focused, and it’s not a distraction for him. So everything is in place, and give things the time they need. Sometimes it needs a bit longer, sometimes things are very fast.

"There’s no news from my side, and I think that Toni feels very, very good at Chelsea, he feels very respected by his team-mates and he feels the importance that he has in the team and in the squad."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Football, Premier League, Rio Ferdinand, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Antonio Rudiger, Virgil Van Dijk, Thomas Tuchel, Raphael Varane, Harry Maguire, Ruben Dias

Ryan Sidle
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