Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has said he believes Serbia’s switch to a three-man defence can help him win back a place in Antonio Conte’s team.
The Blues have won five consecutive Premier League matches since Conte moved to a 3-4-3 system and have not conceded a goal — but Ivanovic has dropped out of the picture.
Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta have developed an impressive understanding as the back three, meaning there is no place for either Ivanovic or captain John Terry, both of whom are out of contract in the summer.
But after an international break in which he performed well against Wales and Ukraine, Serbia international Ivanovic said: “I definitely think playing with three at the back for Serbia can help me with Chelsea.
“It’s something that has changed our team when we start playing with three at the back, and we’re improving in every game.
“Of course it helps me because I can have minutes playing in that shape. This is the shape where every player can learn tactically about football and how to play. It’s very good and I think it’s the future of football.
“It’s very important for me and I hope in the future I’ll be physically ready for the [Chelsea] team.”
Ivanovic has been a regular starter at Stamford Bridge since the 2009-10 season, and the 32-year-old stressed that he would battle to win back his place.
“Every player in the world would like to play every game, but sometimes you don’t have that choice,” he said.
“But you have to be ready for every challenge — and for myself I can say I’m ready.”