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Kai Havertz enjoying his free role once again

Smiles all around

Chelsea FC v Borussia Dortmund: Round of 16 Second Leg - UEFA Champions League Photo by Fantasista/Getty Images

The question of Kai Havertz’s (best) position has been the subject of constant debate from day one, as much among the fans and pundits as among the various coaches he’s worked with at the club. Frank Lampard, Thomas Tuchel, and now Graham Potter have all had their own ideas, and have just about gone through all the named and unnamed positions available in the Great Encyclopedia Of Football Manager.

Attacking midfielder? Advanced playmaker? Advanced forward? Wide playmaker? Wing forward? Trequartista? Enganche? Raumdeuter? Shadow striker? Deep-lying forward? Target man? Poacher? Complete forward? Pressing forward? False nine?

Does it really matter what the label is?

Havertz has always been ready to do what’s been asked of him — whether they best suit his skill-set or not — but he himself seems happiest when he’s given more or less a free role. (We saw something quite similar multiple times under Tuchel as well.) That probably requires the best understanding with the rest of the team (especially the other forwards, who, almost by necessity are thus given similar roles), but when it clicks, it can lead to some wonderful moves on the pitch.

“I like this position [in a fluid front-three], it is quite a free role and I’m allowed to come deeper. Having said that, I also like to play as a number nine so having those options is good. Whatever the manager wants me to do for the team, I’m happy.

“With the system we are playing at the moment, it’s very fluid. It means I can be free, especially offensively, and I can find spaces to play from.”

It also helps to have players like Enzo Fernández pulling the strings in support.

“I really enjoy playing with Enzo. He’s a great player and he has a lot of qualities. He’s shown this in the last few games and his ball for my goal was fantastic.”

Of course the most important thing now is to keep this momentum going, to keep building on it, and keep getting better.

“To win three games in a row is important for us because we had a tough time before that.

“We’ve had a lot of players come in and we knew it was going to take some time to time to adapt for everyone. So maybe, you could see that we are still not finished. It will take always time to develop.

“We are improving with each game though and now we must continue in this way [and] hopefully we can push forward now.”

-Kai Havertz; source: Chelsea FC

Everton are up next, then an international break. Let’s go into that with three more points please.

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