The 21-year-old midfielder hasn’t hit the heights expected of him following his £71million move from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer
Thomas Tuchel gave an interesting answer when asked where he thinks Kai Havertz’s best position is on the pitch as the midfielder made a return to action in midweek.
The German attacker came off the bench to replace matchwinner Olivier Giroud in the 87th minute for a very brief came outing, his first for the Blues since January 31 and that was also off the bench, a ten-minute outing against Burnley.
It has been a tough start to life in the Premier League for Havertz, who has netted just once in the top flight since making his £71million move from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.
Havertz has struggled with adapting to England, being struck down by coronavirus in November and an injury last month that has stalled his progress under Tuchel having started the German head coach’s first game in charge of the club.
Like predecessor Frank Lampard, Tuchel has not been afraid to defend 21-year-old Havertz publicly when asked about the German, who was one of the outstanding talents in the Bundesliga last season that paved the way for his big-money move to the Premier League.
While the player is unlikely to start Sunday’s visit of Manchester United to Stamford Bridge, Tuchel has already demonstrated how he can find the right spot for one of his other previously underperforming stars – Timo Werner.
The German netted his first Premier League goal for 100 days when he scored the second in a 2-0 victory over Newcastle United with Tuchel having moved Werner to a second striker position, or a 2left number ten” as Werner himself called it having been stuck out on the left of a front three when Lampard was at the helm.
Tuchel was asked at his pre-match press conference on Friday where he sees Havertz slotting into the Blues side and, much like in the second half of last season at Leverkusen, Tuchel believes Havertz could operate as a false nine for the Blues if they require one.
“He is a unique player,” Tuchel said.
“It’s not so clear where he needs to settle, does he need to settle on one special position? Or is he kind of a hybrid player. Today, I would say he’s in between a nine and a 10, something in between.
“He’s very comfortable in the box, he’s very comfortable in high positions, he’s very good in offensive headers, he has good timing to arrive in the box, good finishing, good composure in the box, around the box, and very comfortable in high positions so between nine and 10.”
Tuchel was again asked about Havertz’s start to life at Chelsea, which certainly hasn’t been smooth sailing and Lampard’s inability to get the best out of him and also Werner was a major architect of his downfall as Chelsea manager in January.
Tuchel, like Lampard, has urged patience with Havertz and again reiterated that moving to England as a 21-year-old for the first time to a club with the stature of Chelsea was something that should be applauded.
“Since I arrived, the only thing that kept him from making a big impact is his injury, nothing else,” Tuchel added.
“I see a committed guy, I see a guy who made a brave decision to move abroad at a young age and to go out of his comfort zone and accept a big challenge in a big team, in the biggest League.
“I see a totally clear guy who is totally aware of that, full of talent, unlimited talent and I see a play who will have a big impact in Chelsea, I’m absolutely convinced because the mix gives me that feeling that he can have a big role in this club and he is absolutely determined to fulfill his role.
“We will find this role and now we need to give him the time it takes. But he is ready, we are very happy he is back in the squad and he will lift our offensive potential there is no doubt.”
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