Berlin (AFP) – Fresh from scoring the winning goal in the Champions League final, Chelsea star Kai Havertz is hoping his club form can earn him a starting berth for Germany at Euro 2020.
Havertz, who turns 22 when the European Championship starts next week, showcased his talent by calmly rounding Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson and scoring Chelsea’s only goal in their 1-0 Champions League final triumph last weekend.
It is typical of the precocious attacking midfielder that the first Champions League goal of his career would decide the Porto final and break City hearts.
“That was a very important goal for me personally, for the club, for my family. That will stay with me for life,” Havertz said Friday after a few days off before joining the Germany camp in Austria.
“I need self-confidence, that’s when I play at my best, and that’s how I’ll go into the European Championship.”
Germany head coach Joachim Loew describes Havertz as an “exceptional talent”.
There is competition for Germany’s attacking midfield berth from Bayern Munich veteran Thomas Mueller, 31, who has been recalled after a two-year hiatus from international football.
However, Havertz is unfazed.
“There are enough systems where several attacking midfielders can play on the pitch at the same time,” said Havertz.
“I am a creative player and I live on instinct.
“In the last few months I have played a lot of positions,” he added having also played as a striker and right winger at Chelsea this season. “I am flexible.”
Havertz is likely to feature in Monday’s friendly against Latvia in Duesseldorf.
It will be his last chance to stake a claim to start Germany’s opening Euro 2020 match against world champions France on June 15 in Munich before they face holders Portugal four days later in Group F.
“I want to play every game like everyone else on the squad,” said Havertz.
“Of course the team comes first, so you have to stick to the plan, but I hope that I will get a lot of minutes at the Euro.”
– Precocious talent –
Havertz has made a career out of reaching milestones ahead of his time.
Born in Aachen in June 1999, he was just four when he started playing football at local club, Alemannia Mariadorf, where his grandfather was the chairman.
After often playing in teams two years above his age, Havertz was 10 when he joined then-second tier side Alemannia Aachen.
A hat-trick for their Under-12 team against Leverkusen saw him quickly snapped up by the Bundesliga club.
Having risen through Leverkusen’s academy and Germany’s junior sides, Havertz had just turned 17 when he made his Bundesliga debut in October 2016, setting a then-record as Leverkusen’s youngest German league player.
He was still finishing secondary school when he became a first-team regular.
Havertz made his first Champions League start in February 2017 in a 4-2 last 16, first leg defeat at home to Atletico Madrid, but missed the return to sit an exam.
Havertz became a full Germany international just after his 19th birthday and attracted Chelsea’s attention by scoring 17 league goals in 2018/19, in the process becoming the youngest player to reach a career milestone of 30 Bundesliga goals.
He signed a five-year contract for Chelsea last September and has netted nine goals, including the winner in Porto to hand his club a second Champions League title, in 45 appearances this season.
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