Antonio Rudiger Chelsea future uncertain after Carabao Cup omission

Rudiger hasn't featured in either of Chelsea's opening two Premier League matches this season

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger
Image: Antonio Rudiger was left out of Chelsea's squad to face Barnsley in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday

Antonio Rudiger's Chelsea future has been cast into further doubt after the defender was left out of Frank Lampard's squad for Wednesday's Carabao Cup match against Barnsley.

Rudiger was an unused substitute for Chelsea's Premier League opener at Brighton, before being completely left out of Lampard's matchday squad to face Liverpool on Sunday.

Players who have missed out on significant minutes during those games, including Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham, started in the 6-0 win over Barnsley.

Antonio Rudiger started both of Germany's Nations League matches earlier in September
Image: Rudiger started both of Germany's Nations League matches earlier in September

Lampard also handed a debut to Thiago Silva at centre-back alongside Fikayo Tomori, and after the match the Chelsea manager downplayed Rudiger's absence.

"That he (Rudiger) was not in the squad, that's just a choice at the moment; with the centre-halves I have I can't have them all in the squad," said Lampard.

"Yes, there may be movement in the squad, we know that, but nothing is concrete so don't read too much into those selections at the minute.

"It will have to be things that are right for the club, the individual and me, in terms of what happens in the next couple of weeks."

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Rudiger, who has suffered significant knee and groin injuries since joining Chelsea from Roma in 2017, would appear to be fully fit, having played all 90 minutes in each of Germany's Nations League matches earlier this month.

The 27-year-old was already understood to be considering his future, and the possibility of a loan move, with first-team football of vital importance to him with the rescheduled European Championships to come next summer.

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However, with less than two years left on Rudiger's contract, Chelsea may prefer he leaves on a permanent deal, but are said to be keen to avoid selling him to a Premier League rival.

When asked in his pre-match press conference if Rudiger could leave, Lampard said: "I'm going to skirt around that question. It remains to be seen.

Frank Lampard cuts a dejected figure during his teams 2-0 loss to Liverpool
Image: Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says he wants to have the 'strongest squad' possible available to him this season

"We're not in a period where the transfer window or market is acting like it has done in recent years in terms of how players move or what level they move at.

"Again the competitive games have just started. I'm very open to those conversations with the players as the next couple of weeks go on.

"My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club but after that of course the individual conversations will happen within that.

"I will try and make sure I go into the season once the window shuts with the squad that I feel is healthy and competitive in a healthy way."

Summer transfer window - key dates and times

The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday October 5 with a feast of activity lined up on Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms.

A domestic-only window for deals between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on SSN and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.

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