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EPL: Havertz ready for No9 role as he talks up Sterling partnership

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Kai Havertz is ready to take responsibility and lead the line for Chelsea next season.

Following the departure of Romelu Lukaku on loan to Inter, Havertz is set to be the only player in the Chelsea squad who can play as a target-man striker.

Chelsea have brought in Raheem Sterling for £47.5million but have turned down the chance to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski.

Havertz finished last season leading the line for Chelsea when Lukaku was out of favour. While the German has been surprised by his position switch, it is a role he is relishing.

“I’ve played a lot of positions over the years but last season I played a lot as a No9 and it’s a position I like very much,” Havertz said at the Allegiant Stadium after Chelsea beat Club America 2-1 in a pre-season friendly over the weekend.

“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. 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.

“I always go into matches telling myself that I want to score or make an assist. That’s always my goal, as a striker you have to do that. Of course, it’s not possible in every game. There are only a small amount of players that can really do that, and even they struggle sometimes. So I go into every match trying to score and help the team.”

“Consistency in football is a very big word; we play every three days and we have to always keep the level high. It’s also the case for me to be consistent in every match and to score as many goals as I can.

“Sometimes, it’s normal that for one game you drop the level. It’s not always possible to score five goals in every game. Consistency for me is a big point and I try to work on that.”

It is one thing to play up front and do a job for the team, but Havertz really wants to thrive.

His 13 goals last season might not be enough next year for Chelsea to achieve their goals.

Havertz feels the trust of Tuchel and wants to take more responsibility.

He said: “It is always good for a striker and me as well (to know that). I’m still young.

“I need to get that confidence from the coach, I need the trust of the coach. Sometimes also in the bad times too. He has always given me that trust to me in the last couple of years.

“You always feel the responsibility when you play. We all wish Rom the best, hopefully, it is going to be a good step for him. But of course, I want to play, it was also the case last year.

“If you are playing and on the pitch, you always have to take the responsibility. I will definitely try to play again as much as I can this season. Hopefully, it is going to be a better year than last year.”

Havertz is excited to link up with Sterling, a player he has admired from afar.

“We all know that he is a great player,” he said. “I saw a stat about him that he has had the most goals and assists for Man City in the last five years or something like that. That 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 of course, for everyone, he is going to help.

“I think in every game you can see that. I know the game against England at the Euros, he played well. 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.”

With Lukaku out of the picture and the Todd Boehly-Clearlake takeover completed, there is positivity around Chelsea again.

The squad seems closer than ever during their pre-season tour of the United States and Havertz hopes that unity can drive further success.

“It was a crazy time for all of us,” Havertz said of former owner Roman Abramovich being sanctioned. “There were then a lot of changes in the club which was strange for all of us, but we came through it.


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“I think it helps that in the team we all get to know each other and also in different or difficult situations that everyone is together so I think it helped us as well.

“I think we are a special group. We see that in the changing room away from the pitch and on the pitch. We have a lot of young players who are maybe the same age.

“We have a lot of experienced players and I think we all fit together very well. You see it off the pitch that it is hopefully going to be a special year for us.”