It was another promising season from Kai Havertz last time out for Chelsea but the German admits he can improve both on and off the field as a footballer, while he hopes the arrival of Raheem Sterling will help him do just that.
Havertz scored 14 goals for the Blues in the 2021/22 campaign, second only to Romelu Lukaku who netted 15.
After Lukaku rejoined Inter Milan on a season-long loan, there is scope for Havertz to cement the striker spot and make it his own.
It is a position that Kai himself has needed time to adapt to after coming up through the ranks at Bayer Leverkusen as an attacking midfielder, often operating behind a central striker, but the German feels it is a role he is growing in with each passing game.
‘I've played a lot of positions over the years but last season I played a lot as a number nine and it's a position I like very much. If I look back four years ago, I could never have imagined playing there. But the last two years I've played it more often and I like the position,’ Havertz says.
‘It's still good that I am flexible and can play different positions up front, but I am there to score goals and make assists and as a number nine you have to do that and link up with players.’
The arrival of Raheem Sterling from Manchester City should only improve the 23-year-old’s numbers on the pitch.
Sterling has finished on the winning side in 154 of his 225 appearances in the Premier League since his City debut, the most of any player in that time frame.
Havertz is hoping that that winning mentality and extra quality will improve both his, and his team-mates’ game.
‘You can see his quality here already and it’s been just a few days. You can see in training how good he is, how fast he is. He is definitely going to help us,’ the German says.
‘We all know he is a great player. I saw a stat about him that he has had the most goals and assists for Man City in the last five years, something like that. It tells the whole story of him. He was a great player for City and the national team as well. Hopefully, he can keep up his level here. For me and for everyone, he is going to help.’
The Blues are entering our final week in the United States, before we return to England to continue preparing for the 22/23 season.
With Sterling being joined by experienced centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, Havertz believes the dynamic within the squad stands us in good stead.
‘We are a special group. We see that in the changing room and also on the pitch. We have a lot of young players who are roughly the same age.
‘We also have a lot of experienced players and we all fit together very well. It is hopefully going to be a special year for us.’