Kai Havertz; record-setter
His start to life for Champions League winners Chelsea was not what many would have expected, but those in Germany always knew that Kai Havertz was going to be a huge deal for club and country as his career progressed. Now, the Aachen-native and Bayer Leverkusen youth product has set another record in a career that is already glistening with landmarks at every turn.
A former recipient of the Fritz Walter Medal at both the U17 (silver) and U19 (gold) level, Havertz was also Leverkusen’s youngest-ever debutant back in 2016, a record that was later broken by current wunderkind Florian Wirtz.
He remains the club’s youngest-ever Bundesliga goalscorer, while also retaining the records of youngest player to reach fifty Bundesliga appearances, highest-scoring teenager in a single Bundesliga campaign, and the second-youngest player to reach the milestone of 25-Bundesliga goals.
Germany's youngest ever EUROs goalscorer 🆕
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) June 19, 2021
Havertz is a star that was always destined to rise, and his goal against Portugal in Germany’s 4-2 win in Munich now adds another record to his already impressive list; youngest-ever goalscorer for Germany at the European Championships.
Difficult early days at Chelsea not indicative of his talent and potential
When Havertz swapped the Bundesliga for the Premier League in a move that saw him become Chelsea’s second-most expensive signing in the club’s history, expectations of immediate influence and scintillating displays had many Blues and Premier League neutrals alike wondering just how the gifted attacking-midfielder would get on in the world’s toughest league. Early doors, to say that many were left disappointed is an understatement.
It was not until matchday five that Havertz opened his Chelsea account against Southampton, but he did not find the back of the net in the league again until matchday thirty-one. All told, his 4-goals and 4-assists in the league were well below what many fans demand from a big-money signing with the German’s reputation, and his added 1-goal and 3-assist totals in Chelsea’s tournament-winning Champions League campaign did not help the stats column, even though he did bag a goal in the final.
An extract from our @BBCSport article on Havertz back in November. From watching his strengths at Leverkusen, his early struggles were always a case of Havertz being misused in a deeper role by Lampard. Now he’s been given the freedom to stay higher up the pitch,he’s flourishing. pic.twitter.com/XGHk4R8yGo
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) June 19, 2021
But the issue all along was not Havertz, but former manager Frank Lampard. Despite his most effective deployment zone coming as a creative midfielder or false 9, Lampard insisted on using him deeper in midfield in a frustrating period of mismanagement that had many convinced Havertz would flop at the highest level of club football.
But when compatriot Thomas Tuchel took the reins in the wake of Lampard’s dismissal, little by little, Havertz began to show signs of life.
Despite going through a season that has largely been filled with disappointment, his goal against Portugal will do wonders to reinstate the youngster’s confidence, and could very well see him become the central attacking figure that so many knew he was destined to become.
With Hansi Flick due to take charge of Germany after the summer, Havertz’s exposure to another new manager that is tactically astute, while valuing just how talented he is, should see the Chelsea man morph into the elite-level footballer that his record-breaking feats have already shown he has the potential to become.
This article was edited by Ben Browning.
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