Kai Havertz hopes to repay the trust of Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea in the absence of Romelu Lukaku, while the Germany international cannot wait to learn from Raheem Sterling.
Tuchel has previously used Havertz as a false nine to lead the Blues line, with Lukaku either injured or unselected, but the striker scored just eight times in 29 Premier League appearances last season.
With Lukaku returning to Inter on loan, Tuchel ruling out a move for Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski joining Barcelona, Havertz will likely be tasked with the role up top once more.
Though the former Bayer Leverkusen star acknowledged he did not expect the positional switch, Havertz is aiming to make the role his own and give Tuchel reason to have faith in him.
“I’ve played a lot of positions over the years but last season I played a lot as a number nine and it’s a position I like very much,” he told reporters.
“If I look back four years ago, I could never have imagined playing there. But the last two years I’ve played it more often and I like the position.
“It’s still good that I am flexible and can play different positions up front, but I am there to score goals and make assists and as a number nine you have to do that and link up with players.
And… we’re back! pic.twitter.com/Ds07i6DQwQ
— Kai Havertz (@kaihavertz29) July 12, 2022
“Consistency in football is a very big word; we play every three days and we have to always keep the level high. It’s also the case for me to be consistent in every match and to score as many goals as I can.
“Sometimes, it’s normal that for one game you drop the level. It’s not always possible to score five goals in every game. Consistency for me is a big point and I try to work on that.
“I need to get that confidence from the coach, I need the trust of the coach. Sometimes also in the bad times too. He has always given that trust to me in the last couple of years.
“It is always good for a striker, and me as well, [to know that]. I’m still young. If you are playing and on the pitch, you always have to take the responsibility.
“I will definitely try to play again as much as I can this season. Hopefully, it is going to be a better year than last year.”
If Havertz wants to improve his goalscoring ability and finishing, he has to look no further for advice than from Sterling, who joined from Manchester CIty on a five-year deal last week.
Since Pep Guardiola became City coach in 2016, Sterling has scored 27 Premier League goals from inside the six-yard box, which is five more than anyone else (Harry Kane, 22).
The England international averaged almost a goal every other game (one every 179 minutes) in the Premier League under Guardiola, with his haul of 85 bettered by only five players since the start of the 2016-17 season.
“We all know that he is a great player,” Havertz said of Sterling. “I saw a stat about him that he has had the most goals and assists for Man City in the last five years or something like that. That tells the whole story of him.
“He was a great player for City and the national team as well, hopefully, he can keep up his level here. For me and of course, for everyone, he is going to help.
“I think in every game you can see that. I know the game against England at the Euros, he played well. You can see his quality here already and it’s been just a few days.
“You can see in training how good he is, how fast he is. He is definitely going to help us.”
Kalidou Koulibaly has also joined Chelsea as the second signing of the Todd Boehly and Clearlake Capital era at Stamford Bridge, and Havertz is delighted to have new ownership after a turbulent last season.
“It was a crazy time for all of us,” Havertz said, referencing former owner Roman Abramovich’s sanctions. “There were then a lot of changes in the club which was strange for all of us, but we came through it.
“I think it helps that in the team we all get to know each other and also in different or difficult situations that everyone is together so I think it helped us as well.
“I think we are a special group. We see that in the changing room away from the pitch and on the pitch. We have a lot of young players who are maybe the same age.
“We have a lot of experienced players and I think we all fit together very well. You see it off the pitch that it is hopefully going to be a special year for us.”