Frank Lampard urged to make change to Chelsea’s starting XI to hand Blues star ‘big role’

Frank Lampard has been told to make Antonio Rudiger a regular starter after his impressive showing in midweek. That’s the view of Paul Merson, who believes the German is the best option for Chelsea alongside Thiago Silva at the back.

Rudiger was close to completing a transfer away from Stamford Bridge in the summer window, with Lampard deeming him surplus to requirements.

A number of clubs were linked with a move and it is understood a deadline day switch to West Ham collapsed in the final hours of deadline day.

The defender made his first appearance of the season in the 4-0 win over Krasnodar, standing in for Silva who was given the night off.

It looks likely that Rudiger will have to settle for a place on the bench today at Turf Moor, but Merson, writing in his Daily Star column, believes he deserves a more prominent role.

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“Antonio Rudiger should get more games for Chelsea because he’s their best option next to Thiago Silva,” he said.

“It’s a good thing he’s back in the team after they tried to sell him in the window, and he could still play a big role this season.

“Frank Lampard has gone back to basics after the 3-3 draw with Southampton and it’s worked for Chelsea.

“When you’re a young manager it’s easy to think you have to entertain all the time. But sometimes you need to have a solid base to work from.

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“Since that game they’ve kept three clean sheets in a row and they look much more secure at the back.”

Merson also credited the arrival of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy behind their new-found defensive rigidity.

The £22million summer signing has replaced Kepa Arrizabalaga with little fuss, becoming the first keeper to earn three successive clean sheets.

“Having Edouard Mendy in goal helps,” he added. “He’s got a presence and he’s got great feet. If you watch him he’s like a tennis player waiting to take a shot in a rally – always on his toes.

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“He will save Chelsea points this season where Kepa would have cost them points.

“Lampard can be a bit naive sometimes and he was under pressure there, but he’s starting to get things right now.”

Lampard has a number of selection dilemmas for the trio to Burnley on Saturday afternoon.

Hakim Ziyech also put his case forward for a Premier League start, with a scoring display in Russia, but the Chelsea boss will have to find a way to get in all of his attacking players after the summer spending spree.

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