Just before the German playmaker makes a debuts for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, Adam Bate traces the player’s journey from his breakthrough season to the superstar of today. Back in 2017, it made sense to leave early. Change the environment. Pressure was building at home after a 4-1 loss to Schalke. Defeat to Ingolstadt would leave a team that had been competing in the knockout stages of the Champions League just six weeks earlier now facing the risk of relegation.
Kai Havertz did not fly to Madrid for the game against Atletico that ended Leverkusen’s European adventure. The 17-year-old midfielder had an exam. Those same school commitments saw him skip the Schalke game too. But with his final test now out of the way he was free to link up with his team-mates in Munich, joining them just in time to make the final training session before this key game.
Korkut had only been appointed on a short-term contract that March. A 6-2 defeat to Borussia Dortmund had ended Roger Schmidt’s reign. His remit now was to steady this ship not blood youth. But as he watched on during that session something shifted in his mind. Someone made it shift.
“You just do a bit of a warm-up, a small game for a few minutes and a couple of sprints. But when we played the small game on this small pitch, he was fantastic. It was like he was free after finishing his exams. Everything in his mind was clear because school was finished and even within 10 minutes of watching him you could feel it. It was just the way that he touched the ball. “I decided to play him.” And that was how Kai the playmaker we know today gained lots of recognition. Welcome Kai, to Chelsea FC. We can’t wait to watch you play.
Source: Sky Sports