Speaking ahead of Germany’s friendly against Austria on Tuesday evening, Julian Nagelsmann is surprised of the criticism towards Kai Havertz, who played at left-back against Turkey on Saturday.
“We played the same formation as in the USA,” said Nagelsmann. “Kai didn’t play the classic left-back role and I have to be very surprised that he was criticised as a left-back.
“He won all of his duels and played well. If one criticises that he scored a goal, then [Alex] Grimaldo with six goals should no longer play as a left-back. Kai did very well.”
Nagelsmann also kept his options in regards to a starting lineup against Austria open. Havertz could again feature at left-back, but a decision will be made after the final training session.
Kai Havertz at left-back may not be a one-time thing
Post defeat against Turkey, Nagelsmann hinted that Havertz playing at left-back would not be a one-time thing: “Kai said he wanted to do it, wanted to try it. 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 the first time in an unfamiliar position, he did extremely well and probably was our best player.”
But playing Havertz at left-back is something that Lothar Matthäus, Germany’s most capped player, doesn’t want to see again. In his Sky Germany column, the World Cup winner said: “Kai Havertz brings a lot of quality but he wasn’t trained for this position. I get that the coach wanted to try something out, but I hope it won’t happen again.”
However, Matthäus did add that Havertz was one of Germany’s best players in Germany’s 3-2 defeat on Saturday, but believes the Arsenal player should play an attacking role in the squad.
“It can’t be a permanent solution to suddenly put one of the best German attacking players of recent years at full-back,” added Matthäus, via iMiaSanMia.
GGFN | Daniel Pinder