Antonio Rudiger has been told he is not good enough to play for Chelsea, with former Blues goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer surprised that other options are being overlooked as Fikayo Tomori edges ever closer to joining AC Milan.
Frank Lampard has plenty of centre-half options available to him at Stamford Bridge.
Experienced Brazilian Thiago Silva was added to that talent pool during the summer of 2020, with the 36-year-old quickly taking on an important role in west London.
The South American has become a regular for Lampard, with the biggest decision facing the Blues boss appearing to be who to play alongside a former Paris Saint-Germain star.
Kurt Zouma has been a go-to selection, but Rudiger has come back into favour of late.
He has been unable to help Chelsea find the kind of consistency they require in order to mount a Premier League title push, with Schwarzer of the opinion that Lampard needs to shuffle his pack again.
The ex-Blues goalkeeper told Stadium Astro of a Germany international defender: “I’m very surprised Rudiger is back in the side because I don’t think he’s that great a defender.
“I don’t think he’s good enough to play for Chelsea. I think he has had enough opportunities.
“Yes, last season or the season before he had a lot of injury issues, but I think Kurt Zouma next to Silva is the best combination. They showed a couple of weeks ago how good they are together.
“They are going to have a dip in form sometimes but I’d look to keep it simple, play a way into form.
“[Andreas] Christensen, I think, is a good player to have there or thereabouts if you need him. Tomori as well, I would play him ahead of Rudiger. I’m surprised that Tomori is out of the side altogether. “