Walter Sabatini and his Roman cohorts move pretty quickly once they've locked in on a potential transfer target, unless they're being waylaid by another club's attempt to find a replacement, but in terms of their press conference schedules, they be laggin'. A full two weeks after his official signing, Antonio Rüdiger was finally unveiled to the media today, where he spoke on a range of subjects, including his (get this) preference for Rudi Garcia's tactics and his supposed hot temper.
Since it's the international break and you ain't got shit going on, let's unnecessarily dissect this kid's words. To save time, we're just pulling the questions and answers from the official site.
Why Antonio, what are you expectations for this season?
"Hi everyone, I'm Antonio Rüdiger. My aim at Roma is to achieve success and perform as best I can."
First off, I love that he introduced himself like it was the first day of kindergarten. I wonder what he did over summer break, though. Hit up a water park? Ditch the training wheels on his bike? I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume his terse response was due to a language barrier, but I'm sure in his heart of hearts, his goal is to find his way into the starting lineup asap.
More on Rüdiger
More on Rüdiger
Do you prefer to play as a left or right center back?
"I'm a center back but I've also played right full-back. I'll play in defense for Roma. I like Garcia's tactical approach and use of high pressing. I really did my homework on Roma before coming here."
Now that was a much better response, very thoughtful and very intriguing. We've seen it with several defenders since Garcia's arrival in town, but Rüdiger's tactical flexibility should get him on the pitch much more while he adjusts to Serie A and works his way towards full fitness. And let's face it, with Maicon"s own fitness problems and Vasilis Torsidis' limited range, Rüdiger might be pressed into service at right back, if for no other reason than to give Alessandro Florenzi a breather.
Do you think you'll be fit to face Frosinone? Are you ready to be compared to Benatia, a defender who moved to the Bundesliga after an excellent season at Roma?
"I started training yesterday. I don't feel any pain at the moment, it's all looking good. The coach will ultimately pick the team. I'll do everything I can to play but in the end it's down to the coach. Benatia definitely played very well for Roma but I'm Antonio Rüdiger, I'm my own man and I have my own strengths."
Now this is the question on everyone's mind. Rüdiger was so sought after for a damn good reason; he's a talented kid, so the sooner we can see him, the sooner we can evaluate him and the sooner he can contribute, but something tells me Frosinone might be a bit too early for his return. Although, as you can see below, he's already returned to training, so maybe he'll surprise us all; making his debut against such a small club would probably be the best way to ease him into action.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p lang="de" dir="ltr">Ritornato alla squadra! // Wieder im Mannschaftstraining! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/workhard?src=hash">#workhard</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ForzaRoma?src=hash">#ForzaRoma</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ToniIsBack?src=hash">#ToniIsBack</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/OfficialASRoma">@OfficialASRoma</a> <a href="http://t.co/kw4kYt8mr2">pic.twitter.com/kw4kYt8mr2</a></p>— Antonio Rüdiger (@ToniRuediger) <a href="https://twitter.com/ToniRuediger/status/639064025733701632">September 2, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
As far as the Benatia comparisons are concerned, well, that was really just a baseless question; the two players really have nothing to do with one another—Benatia has been gone for well over a year now, but you have to like how he shifted the focus on his own strengths and capabilities.
In your homeland you're known as a bit of a tough guy. Do you think you still need to work on the mental side?
"I don't know what you've read or heard about me but I'm a relaxed guy. I was sent off a few times when I was 19, sure, but over time you grow up and improve."
That's true, and this is coming from a guy who once led his hockey league in penalty minutes, so I know what I'm talking about, but between Rüdiger and Kostas Manolas, Roma has two extremely physical centerbacks, which has tremendous advantages and drawbacks.
The full interview is available on the club site and it's worth checking out. Hopefully we'll have some actual news to discuss soon, but these international breaks are dreadful.