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Rudiger not interested in Manchester United, Chelsea rumours

Roma defender Antonio Rudiger says he is not interested in rumours linking him with a move to Chelsea or Manchester United.

Reports in England have suggested that Jose Mourinho is a keen admirer of the 23-year-old Germany international and could launch a January bid, with United’s unsteady defence having been blighted by injuries to Eric Bailly, Phil Jones and Antonio Valencia.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has also been credited with an interest in the centre-back, who made his first appearance of the season in the win over Sassuolo last Wednesday following cruciate ligament damage that kept him out of Euro 2016.

Speaking ahead of Roma’s Europa League meeting with Austria Vienna, however, Rudiger insists that recovering top form for Luciano Spalletti’s side is his sole priority.

“There’s a lot of talk about changes in the squad, but I’m really happy to play for Roma. I’m not bothered about transfer rumours,” he told a news conference.

“In the end, I’m happy to be healthy again. It wasn’t easy but now I can play again.

“I’m ready to play [on Thursday]. I hope for the best, but it’s the coach’s decision in the end.”

Rudiger’s return comes as a huge positive for Spalletti, with Roma having been hit by a raft of injuries in defensive positions.

Long-term absentee Thomas Vermaelen remains sidelined, along with full-back Mario Rui, who has knee ligament damage, while Kostas Manolas – who has a broken nose – is not expected to return until after the international break and Federico Fazio has a calf problem.

Despite the injury worries – which also include a muscle problem for Francesco Totti – Austria Vienna boss Thorsten Fink said Roma remain the favourites for the clash at Ernst Happel Stadion.

While he concedes that Fink’s comments could merely by mind games, Spalletti agrees that his side should win.

“He’s right. We’re playing to win the game,” he said. “Whether they’re bluffing or not, that’s our intention.

“I have confidence in the players.”

Roma are top of Group E after three matches – level on five points with Thursday’s hosts – following their 3-3 draw on matchday three.

Wed 2 Nov, 2016
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