‘A slap in the face’ – Decision to play Kai Havertz at left-back slammed by Germany legend
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‘A slap in the face’ – Decision to play Kai Havertz at left-back slammed by Germany legend

Nov 21, 2023

Germany boss Julian Nagelsmann has been told to stop playing Kai Havertz at left-back and deploy him further forward.

The Arsenal star was surprisingly played as an auxiliary left-back against Turkey on Saturday night.

Havertz broke the deadlock for Germany when starting at left-back against Turkey

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Havertz broke the deadlock for Germany when starting at left-back against TurkeyCredit: Getty

It comes amid a disappointing season so far at the Emirates following his £65million move from Chelsea in the summer, where he has scored just once – a penalty.

Havertz might have proved doubters wrong, though, having scored minutes into the contest against Turkey.

However, the attacking midfielder went on to concede a penalty later in the match which saw Germany lose 3-2.

And German legend Lothar Matthaus insisted that Nagelsmann should abandon his plans to play Havertz at left-back after he said he could play there at Euro 2024 next summer.

Writing in his column for Sky Germany, Matthaus said: “Havertz brings a lot of quality, but he was not trained in this position, but in the offensive [areas] and mainly centrally.

“I accept that the national coach wanted to try something out, but I hope it doesn’t happen again – even though Havertz was one of the better players against Turkey.

“If we want to have his qualities in the team, we have to find a place where he can show the extra class that he partly embodied during the last World Cup.

“It can’t be a permanent solution if we suddenly let one of the best German offensive players of recent years play full-back.

Havertz was praised for his performance but Matthaus has told Nagelsmann to stop his experiment

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Havertz was praised for his performance but Matthaus has told Nagelsmann to stop his experimentCredit: Getty
Havertz has struggled at Arsenal this season

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Havertz has struggled at Arsenal this seasonCredit: Getty

“This is also a slap in the face to those who have played there recently, even if there were problems on the left side of the defence recently.’

“After Havertz’s goal, it initially looked as if Nagelsmann’s plan might work, but as a coach you have to think long-term, not just from one game to the next.

“The world-class quality that Nagelsmann sees in Havertz has so far only shown on the offensive.

“At Bayern, Nagelsmann didn’t necessarily rely on a nine, so he could use Havertz as a false nine, Leroy Sane on the right, Jamal Musiala in the middle and Florian Wirtz on the half-left or left side.

AFTV’s Robbie Lyle criticises Kai Havertz for playing it too safe since joining Arsenal

“Then you would have gathered all the world-class players that Nagelsmann and I see in one team.”

While Havertz has been criticised this season, Nagelsmann insisted that the 24-year-old was arguably Die Mannschaft’s best player on the night.

“Kai said he wanted to do it, wanted to try it,” he said, Sky Sports Germany report.

“I don’t see this as a risk for him, but as a very, very big opportunity to play a key role at the Euros. For a first time in an unfamiliar position, he did extremely well and probably was our best player.”


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