EPL

Rudiger is going to see a consultant - Lampard denies Chelsea defender is ready to return

By Sports Desk November 01, 2019

Frank Lampard denied Antonio Rudiger is fit to return for Chelsea, revealing the Germany centre-back is set to see a consultant on Monday.

Rudiger was forced off at half-time in Chelsea's 5-2 victory over Wolves on September 14, which remains his only appearance for the first team since sustaining a knee injury in April.

The 26-year-old was widely reported as saying he was "itching" to play after returning to fitness following the groin issue suffered against Wolves.

However, Lampard insisted Rudiger will not be available for Saturday's meeting with Watford and there is no timetable for his return.

"He's not fit. I saw the quotes, whether there was a miscommunication I don't know," said the Chelsea head coach.

"He's going to see a consultant on Monday because he's got an ongoing issue in the pelvic area. We'll have to wait for the appointment to see how long he'll be out. I was surprised by the quotes because he's not fit."

Lampard had more positive updates on N'Golo Kante and Ross Barkley, both of whom he said could "possibly" return to face Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday.

"Every player in the squad that's not available is disappointing but it comes with the territory. [Rudiger] and N'Golo have had a domino effect in injuries from last season," said Lampard. "N'Golo's close, he's working with the team now.

"Ross Barkley is still not quite right and he's another possibly answer, but he's not far away. Andreas Christensen is pretty much fit as well. It's the finishing touches now."

Watford are winless at the bottom of the Premier League this season but Lampard warned the Blues, who saw a run of seven straight victories end with a 2-1 loss to Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, against complacency.

Asked if the circumstances made the meeting with Watford more dangerous, Lampard replied: "Without a doubt. I'm very much of that mindset.

"First, I look at us, and since we've been on the winning run, the game became more dangerous because of the idea of overconfidence.

"We saw what Watford did last year and the personnel are very similar. We cannot underestimate a team that will be hurting because they haven't won for a while."

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