CHELSEA need to build their team around five key players next season, according to Pat Nevin.
Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Eden Hazard, N’Golo Kante and Thibaut Courtois are the stars the former Blues ace reckons are crucial to the success of the side.
And Nevin believes Rudiger proved his talents in the FA Cup win over Manchester United last weekend.
"There were other fine performances but for once, I totally agreed with the choice made at Wembley for Man of the Match," Nevin told Chelsea’s official website.
"Antonio Rudiger has managed to stay under the radar of many Premier League watchers outside of Stamford Bridge.
"I was beginning to get fed up with the sneering looks I was getting from some when I said he was probably the best proponent of the art of pure defending in the Premier League at the moment. That has now changed.
Chelsea: Team average - 6.09. Ended well with the FA Cup, but on the whole a disappointing season at Stamford Bridge
"The secret is now out. In short, if Rudiger is marking you then you might as well pass the ball because neither you nor anyone else is going to get past him in a one-on-one battle.
"It doesn't seem to matter if they try to outpace him or use outrageous skills, one after the other the top players have found out pretty quickly that it’s a bit pointless even trying.
"This game provided the final evidence if any was needed, Antonio Rudiger is now a cult figure with the Chelsea fans and it is almost unthinkable not starting him in any game that has meaning at all.
"He joins Azpi [Cesar Azpilicueta], Eden Hazard, N'Golo Kante and Thibaut Courtois in what I hope will be the base of the team going forward for quite some time.
Chelsea have been told they must keep hold of Eden Hazard this summer
"It is the summer now and there will be changes, there always are, but as long as those five stick around it will be possible to be competitive at the highest levels.
"I wouldn't insult your intelligence by ignoring the fact that there is some uncertainty in the air and who knows what will happen.
"I personally know absolutely nothing more than anyone else, but an FA Cup win and some world-class players must certainly give us hope for the future whichever direction it takes us in.
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is expected to leave the club this summer
"To be fair, uncertainty is not uncommon for the modern Chelsea fan and I reckon we are all much more sanguine about it than we used to be, the trophies have generally kept rolling along with a pleasing regularity and I reckon that may continue."
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte is widely expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer despite beating Manchester United in the FA Cup final.
That’s after tensions have grown with the Blues board and a disappointing fifth place finish in the Premier League.