Timo Werner is capable of playing on the left for Chelsea, according to Frank Lampard, who has called for patience amid the striker’s struggles for form at the start of his career in England. Werner has largely failed to live up to his £47.5 million ($65m) price tag since joining Chelsea from RB Leipzig back in June.
The 24-year-old has only scored nine goals in his first 25 outings for the Blues in all competitions, having seemingly lost the killer touch in the final third that saw him emerge as one of the most deadly strikers in Europe at Red Bull Arena.
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He went 12 games in a row without finding the back of the net before scoring his first goal in 827 minutes of football in a third-round FA Cup tie against Morecambe last weekend, which ended in a 4-0 victory for Lampard’s side.
Werner played through the middle against the League Two outfit, but he has been deployed on the left-hand side of a front three more often than not in recent months, with it suggested that Lampard does not yet know how to get the best out of the Germany international. However, the Chelsea boss has insisted that the former Leipzig star has the versatility to play in several different positions, while calling for calm among supporters as he continues to find his feet in the Premier League.
“With Timo through the middle, is clearly a position he likes to start from,” Lampard told a press conference ahead of the Blues’ clash with Fulham on Saturday. “With Leipzig and Germany he played centrally, from the left, as a lone striker, and as one of two strikers. So there is definitely room for manoeuvre in how you use Timo.
“We are, and I pride myself on this as a manager, a good, hard-working team off the ball which means a lot of high pressure. And it’s very normal for Timo and the other forward players who have come in that it will take some time to get used to my ideas and their team-mates’ ideas. “We haven’t had time on the training pitch for that. That can only be done at full pace in training, to work on the high press. That’s why the last two weeks have been really useful.
“I think his performances have been pretty good and I think they will get better the more he works with his team-mates. I think it’s going slightly unspoken that a lot of players, unless they are at a club like Chelsea, are given time to come into the team, come out of the team, feel their way in.
“Players who have come into the Liverpool team in recent years have been given time to feel their way into how the team plays. With Timo, we didn’t have that opportunity because of certain injuries and because we bought him to make an impact in our first team straight away. “Everyone has to be patient, though. We will maximise Timo’s talents in this team. And that’s a two way street of his work and our work. It will take time.”
Lampard went on to address speculation over Fikayo Tomori’s future at Stamford Bridge, with the 23-year-old currently being linked with a move away from the club. The Chelsea head coach hasn’t ruled out letting the defender leave on loan this month, but he still expects him to have a long and successful career in west London regardless of his current role in the squad.
“He absolutely has a long-term future at this club and we will see if and when he goes out on loan,” Lampard said of Tomori. “The moment I got close with Fikayo is when I took him on loan to Derby and he was the player of the year and one of the best players in the Championship that year. “He came back last year, played 20 plus games for us at a young age and then got in the England squad.
“There is a long-term plan for Fikayo in my head about his career here. And if he goes out on loan it will be to enhance his personal development, hopefully, help the team he goes to, and come back as a better player.”