Frank Lampard agrees with Tanguy Ndombele comparison for Kai Havertz at Chelsea

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Kai Havertz’s start to his Chelsea career has been the subject of much talk since the German made his £75million move to the club from Bayer Leverkusen.

Having scored 36 goals and helped himself to 25 assists in 118 appearances for the Bundesliga club, Havertz became Chelsea’s second most expensive signing after Kepa Arrizabalaga signed from Athletic Bilbao (£71.6m) in 2018.

But it hasn’t quite gone to plan for the 21-year-old since making the move to the Premier League. He took his time to settle, as was expected, but whas then struck down by coronavirus which Lampard has previously said affected him “severely”.

Some rather tame outings have followed for the midfielder and he was subdued once again as Chelsea lost 2-0 to Leicester in midweek.

Lampard gave Havertz a start at the King Power Stadium but it didn’t pay off as he was hauled off just over an hour after another ineffective game. The German has scored just once in his last 15 outings for Lampard’s side.

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The form of Havertz and fellow German Timo Werner could be symptomatic of what Chelsea’s form as a team is like as Lampard’s side have lost five of their last eight matches to fall 11 points off the pacesetters Manchester United.

Lampard was bullish when asked about his future as manager with his job hanging by a thread following a dire run of form.

He was equally defiant when the subject of Havertz was brought up once again, especially after former Blues defender Robert Huth had accused Havertz of “not looking bothered.”

Lampard also agreed with the connection between Havertz and Spurs’ Tanguy Ndombele, who is flourishing this season 18-months after signing from Lyon and looking well and truly settled in the Premier League.

“I can officially say from working with Kai that desire is absolutely not part of the issue, “Lampard said.

“Is he as confident right now, at this minute, as he can be or will be? No because he is having a tough moment, as are other members of the squad.

“So I think the comparison with Ndombele is a fair one and I could make lots of comparisons to players that were here at a similar age to Kai – Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah, who went away and took time and came back, and now they are absolute Premier League legends.

“I don’t want to build Kai up and put that pressure on his shoulders, but there clearly has to be a time with young players who come to this League, where people have to give them time, patience and sometimes a little bit of wriggle room.

It’s not that everything will just happen in a few months or in one performance. He has a clear talent, an absolute clear talent and he has a style that maybe when things aren’t coming off, people want to jump on. I’ve seen players like that over the years, some amazingly talented players.

Frank Lampard speaks to Callum Hudson-Odoi

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“But, let me tell you, his desire, the ground he covers in games is big, the data and the stats are big, and he needs time because we’ve seen this story so many times with players.

“In an ideal world we would be playing better as a team at the moment and in an ideal world you could just sit Kai and say ‘come into this, the feeling is good’, which is what happened in our unbeaten run. But at the minute it’s not like that and there are things around it that are not easy for Kai.

“But I definitely want to put to bed any accusation of lack of desire. I know him well, he’s a good lad and my job is to coach him like I coach the young players that came through last year in this team and made real names for themselves, to keep improving him. And now is the time to give him confidence and show my support for him and he’s got my absolute support.”





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