Football

Rüdiger assures Lampard he is ready to play for Chelsea after racial abuse


Antonio Rüdiger has told Frank Lampard that he is ready to play against Southampton after suffering racial abuse during Chelsea’s victory over Tottenham Hotspur last Sunday.

The Chelsea defender was targeted with a monkey chant at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium but he has not asked to sit out the visit from Southampton on Thursday afternoon. Although the abuse left Rüdiger angry and frustrated, the German does not feel he needs any time off.

English football’s racism problem is not going away and Lampard believes educating young people will have a positive effect. “If you mention education I think you just have to go back to the beginning,” Chelsea’s manager said. “I don’t think we can isolate people now. We need to work on the education, how people grow up, school them, how parents educate them. Not just on the racism issue but on the all-round issue, how you respect the person standing next to you in the street.

“One thing I always think about is not just my schooling but about how my mum raised me and the manners she would have put in me. If she thought I was being disrespectful to anyone without good cause she certainly would have told me at a young age. I’m no saint but it starts with parenting.”

Willian scored both of Chelsea’s goals against Spurs and the Brazilian, whose contract runs out at the end of the season, remains in talks with the club over a new deal. Lampard wants to keep the 31-year-old.

“I knew he had that talent before I got the job,” Lampard said. “The last year or two I have looked at him from afar and wasn’t sure how much he was enjoying it, whether he felt happy in games. My feeling at the start of the season was to tell him how much I feel about him and how I see him.

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“Get him fit, get him working off the ball, and the rest in terms of what he does on the ball I can kind of let him do that. He has this incredible ability to burst away from people. If there was one thing I wanted from him it was a question of, ‘Can you score more goals? Because your talent says you should.’

“That means sometimes running behind defenders, getting the other side, and he is doing those things. His teammates love him, a low maintenance player to have in the squad, so I am really happy with him.”



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