Interview

Havertz determined to exploit his potential for club and country

After completing his move from Leverkusen to London this summer, Kai Havertz has big ambitions on both the domestic and international stage, as he has been discussing this week...

Since the post-lockdown restart of competitive football, Havertz has played a total of 17 times for Bayer Leverkusen, Chelsea and the German national team, scoring 11 goals and, since his switch to Stamford Bridge, claiming four assists.

The most recent of those came in Germany’s 3-3 draw with Turkey this week, the first an incisive defence-splitting pass played forward from a pocket of space on the right and the second a dazzling piece of quick footwork on the edge of the box.

The latter was reminiscent of the 21-year-old’s neat interplay with Callum Hudson-Odoi that aided our recent comeback at West Brom, while Havertz’s other Chelsea assist in the Carabao Cup against Barnsley was the result of enthusiastic defending from the front as his sliding tackle fell for Ross Barkley to make it 3-0.

It is this repertoire of making and taking chances in front of goal that mean the youngster is such an exciting addition to Frank Lampard’s evolving squad and will surely see him cement a regular place in Joachim Low’s Germany team over the coming months. His start against Turkey was just his eighth appearance at senior level but he has high hopes of quickly adding to that tally.

‘I travelled to my old home in Cologne full of anticipation for the games,’ he said. ‘In my two years with the national team, I haven't played too many games but I'm still relatively young.

‘I have a lot of games ahead of me which is why so far I've always remained calm. I have enough self-confidence to attack the national team.’

Lampard has called on the midfielder to be given time as he settles into English football and he agrees that a period of adaptation to the differing demands of the Premier League, as well as life off the field, will be required. However, the signs so far have been good and Havertz is adamant there is much more to come too.

‘It was difficult for me, especially because the Premier League is a completely different league,’ he explained. ‘It's more intense and I noticed that in the first few games.

‘It has gone pretty well for me recently but I think there is also still a lot of potential upwards. I want to exploit that in the next few weeks and months.

‘The hat-trick [against Barnsley] was good for me. The start was a little difficult because I only trained with the team for five or six days, then played the first game right away. It was also a very big step for me to leave my family and familiar surroundings. Of course, it takes time to get it right.’

Some will ask how much German and English football can really vary seeing as it is the same game played by the same number of players on the same pitch. However, Havertz provides some detail on that and cites the familiar aspect of physicality as the main difference he’s experienced so far, as well as improved quality across the board.

‘The intensity in the duels and the runs is much higher,’ he continued. ‘It's a completely different league and the games are very exhausting.

‘The Bundesliga isn't worse but I noticed differences. It seems to me like there aren't any average or bad players here – everybody is at a very high level.’

Havertz will be hoping to continue his strong start to the season when Germany travel to Kiev to take on Ukraine in the UEFA Nations League this evening.

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