Football News

Former Ajax assistant names Kai Havertz as one of the four most talented players he has coached

By Harry Edwards

Published: 18:09, 28 August 2019

Bayer Leverkusen assistant manager Hendrie Kruzen has named Kai Havertz as one of the most talented players he has coached.

Kruzen has been assistant manager to current Leverkusen boss Peter Bosz across Europe with Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Ajax and Dortmund before settling in North Rhine-Westphalia.

How good is Kai Havertz? Five things to know…

  • Kai Havertz is considered one of the best young midfielders in Europe.
  • Last season, as a teenager, he scored 17 goals for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.
  • This has led to speculation over his future.
  • The likes of Bayern Munich and Liverpool have been linked with a move for Havertz.
  • And Leverkusen assistant manager Kruzen, who was previously at Ajax, has hailed Havertz as one of the best players he’s worked with.

Havertz, who turned 20 in June, has made a name for himself as one of the hottest young prospects in European football and scored a remarkable 17 goals in the Bundesliga last season – the most by a teenager in a single campaign.

The midfielder also started the new season in form, scoring in Leverkusen’s 3-2 win over Paderborn in their Bundesliga opener. And Kruzen has hailed Havertz as one of the best players he has worked with.

“One of the best, yes,” he told Goal.

“But I would also name Hakim Ziyech, Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt at Ajax in this context. And it is a pity that we could not work with Marco Reus at Dortmund because he was injured.

“He and Mario Gotze loved our style of play. These are all players who think not only about the next pass, but also the next situation in the game before they even get possession of the ball.”

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Kruzen: Havertz is a player for the big clubs

As a result of his impressive performances, Havertz has been linked with a move away from Leverkusen, with the likes of Bayern Munich reportedly interested.

And Kruzen concedes Leverkusen will not be able to keep hold of their young star, tipping him for an outstanding career.

He added: “I think Kai is definitely a player for the big clubs [to look at signing] in the future. He has a lot of talent and has everything for an outstanding career.

“He scores goals, assists them and can handle the ball very well. What he can still improve on is the defensive phase, the transition – that he doesn’t just stop but goes straight back. But he will also learn that.

“He has to become more of a leader this year and to take on greater responsibility. If he plays as well as he did last season, then the chance he’ll leave isn’t any lower. That would be fine, because then maybe he would take the next step in his career at one of the very big clubs.

“But let’s see – in any case, Kai feels right at home with us at the moment.”