Kai Havertz played the full 90 minutes of Thomas Tuchel’s first match in charge of Chelsea but has made only two substitute appearances late in the second half since.
Unfortunately for the young German, injury has interfered and after playing the 0-0 draw against Wolves which began the new managerial era and coming on in the win against Burnley that followed, Havertz was unavailable for selection before returning to the bench and then the pitch in the 87th-minute of this week’s win against Atletico Madrid.
Tuchel clearly would have liked the option of unleashing his compatriot more.
‘Since I have arrived the only thing that kept Kai Havertz from making a big impact is his injury, nothing else,’ the boss has confirmed.
‘I see a committed guy, I see a guy who did a brave decision to go abroad at a young age and to go out of his comfort zone and to accept a big challenge in a big team in the biggest league.
‘He is full of talent, unlimited talent, and I see a player that will have a big impact at Chelsea. I am absolutely convinced because the mix gives me the feeling that he can have a big role in this club, and he is absolutely determined to fulfil this role.
‘We will find his role and we will give him the time it takes but he is ready and we are very happy that he is back in the squad. It will lift our offensive potential. There is no doubt.’
So far, the 21-year-old has appeared in a variety of positions on the pitch since his move from Bayer Leverkusen ahead of this season. Tuchel can understand why.
‘He is a unique player,’ he declares.
‘It is not clear to me where he needs to settle down. Does he need to settle in one special position or is he a kind of hybrid player? Today I would say he is in between a no.9 and a no.10.
‘He is very comfortable in the box, he is very comfortable in high positions. He is very good at offensive headers, he has good timing to arrive in the box, good finishing, and good composure in and around the box.’
The next chance for Havertz to show the attributes that earn him such high praise from Tuchel may come tomorrow against Man United. The Red Devils are currently six points ahead of us in the Premier League table and though our manager does not go as far as describing it as a must-win match for our top-four hopes, he stresses its importance.
‘It can be a huge step and if you play against a direct opponent that we are hunting who are six points ahead of us, you absolutely don’t want to lose. This is clear because it opens a gap so that it may be impossible to reach them, but there are still a lot of games to play.
‘The goal is set, we want to win. It is super-difficult but we are up for the challenge, we are in a good moment and we must even improve from our last game and it is possible. It is difficult but we will go for it.’