Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has defended ‘incredible’ Chelsea summer signings Timo Werner and Kai Havertz and says it is ‘normal’ for new signings to struggle during their debut Premier League seasons.
The Blues signed Germany internationals Werner and Havertz last summer but both are enduring difficult spells at Stamford Bridge.
Werner, who arrived from RB Leipzig, has gone 11 games without a goal for Chelsea, while former Bayer Leverkusen star Havertz has been in and out of the team.
Gundogan insists it comes as no surprise to see the duo struggling in their first seasons in England, however, and says they will both prove their worth to Chelsea soon.
‘They have two new German players who have tried to adapt as well as possible,” Gundogan told Sky Sports.
‘In general, I think it’s not easy to adapt quickly to the Premier League when you come from a different country and now with the situation going on I think it’s just even harder.
‘So I think it’s quite normal that they are struggling a little bit, but they both have incredible talent and I’m sure they will both be able to prove it in this league.’
Werner made a fast start to the season but his contributions have fallen away recently and Premier League legend Alan Shearer believes he should claim penalty duties in order to rediscover his confidence.
‘He can’t knock on the manager’s door and say he should be starting matches, because when you look at the chances he’s missing, he doesn’t deserve to,’ Shearer wrote in his column for The Athletic.
‘History suggests it’s not going to last and it can’t do, both for his sake and Frank Lampard’s sake. It has to change.
‘If I was Werner, I would be straining for the ball every time Chelsea are awarded a penalty. It’s such a great opportunity to get up and running again.
‘You’d be amazed what it does to you, that feeling of seeing the ball hit the net. You grow two feet taller instantly.
‘On the training pitch, I’d be doubling down on work. I would get someone to knock balls into me from little angles, just behind the goal.
‘I’d stand five or six yards out and just roll shots into an empty net. Maybe that sounds simplistic, but I’d do it time and time again, just to build my confidence up. Then I’d bring in a keeper — a first-teamer wouldn’t do it, so I’d rope in someone from the youth team — and do the same thing.
‘It’s about repetition, repetition, repetition. “Practice makes permanent,” as Sir Bobby Robson, my old manager at Newcastle United, used to say. The next time the ball comes to you in a match, that repetition kicks in.’