Darren Bent has dismissed claims that Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is the best centre-back in the Premier League, ahead of Virgil van Dijk.
The former Sunderland and Aston Villa striker was asked about the German international’s form when he questioned why the 28-year-old is being ranked above van Dijk by other pundits:
“Antonio Rudiger, he has been very, very good for Chelsea. But still, he’s not even the same bracket as Virgil van Dijk. He is the best centre-back in this country and there is an argument that he is the best on the planet. But I am still taking Van Dijk. He still holds that Liverpool backline together, as I said, Rudiger has been superb for Chelsea. I don’t know if he is even better than Thiago Silva because he is the real orchestrator of the backline.”
Rudiger has had an excellent 2021, but it is surprising to hear so many former players stating he is currently the top-performing centre-half in England.
Van Dijk has been pivotal to Liverpool winning the Champions League and Premier League over the past few years, and he has still put in some very impressive performances despite having been sidelined with a serious knee injury very recently.
Chelsea’s 3-4-3 formation is also more accomodating for centre-backs as it gives them more protection, especially compared to Liverpool’s 4-3-3 which relies more on a high line and the ability of defenders to win their one-on-one battles.