Eyebrows were raised when Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann revealed Arsenal midfielder Kai Havertz would start at left-back in their recent 3-2 friendly loss against Turkey.
No stranger when it comes to being used in multiple positions; the Aachen native had previously turned out in various roles across numerous systems while donning his national team colours, albeit predominantly in the final third.
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Nagelsmann, who inherited a team low on confidence, oversaw two international matches before unveiling Havertz’s newest role though was quick to point out he wouldn’t perform the role in the conventional sense.
“Kai won’t always be in this position. I have a great idea, he’s an exceptionally good footballer. This is a very good option. He won’t always play as a classic left-back,” he told reporters.
Havertz even popped up to put the four-time world champions ahead but their visitors rallied with Germany’s left-back conceding a penalty after handling the ball. That allowed Yusuf Sari an opportunity to put Turkey in front, which he duly obliged, and they never looked back.
⏱️ 19. Min.
Gute Anfangsphase! Weiter so! ⚡️
— DFB-Team (@DFB_Team) November 18, 2023
Despite the setback, Nagelsmann isn’t ruling out a repeat outing for the much-maligned 24-year-old who has yet to pull up any trees in North London following a high-profile switch from Stamford Bridge where several Chelsea managers utilised him across the front line, notably under current Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel who converted him into a false nine.
Havertz’s willingness plays a key factor and he may very well be there when Euro 2024 — being held in Germany — commences
“Kai said he wanted to do it, wanted to try it [playing at left-back],” Nagelsmann added. “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.”