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Lothar Matthäus not a fan of Julian Nagelsmann’s Kai Havertz experiment

With EURO 2024 in sight, the star attacking midfielder is taking a turn at left-back for his national team.

Arsenal Training Session Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

After the shocking failure of the Hansi Flick era, the German football federation turned over the keys to another former Bayern Munich mad scientist, Julian Nagelsmann. And though the results have not yet gotten any better, the experimentation has certainly gotten zanier.

Struggling Arsenal FC midfielder Kai Havertz is one of the main topics of conversation after Nagelsmann installed the former Leverkusen star at left wing-back. The 24-year-old performed well enough individually in both November friendlies, but as a team Germany took it on the chin, losing to both Turkey (3-2) and Austria (2-0).

That has kept the move, which Nagelsmann has insisted will be permanent, in the spotlight. Former Bayern and Germany star Lothar Matthaüs is not a fan.

“Kai Havertz brings a lot of quality, but he was not trained in this position,” Matthäus recently offered for Sky Sport DE (as captured by @iMiaSanMia). “I get that the coach wanted to try something out, but I hope it won’t happen again — even though Havertz was one of the better players against Turkey. It can’t be a permanent solution to suddenly put one of the best German attacking players of recent years at full-back. It’s also a slap in the face to the players who played there recently. I was surprised David Raum didn’t start.”

These are turbulent times for Germany as well as many of its stars. Left-backs David Raum (RB Leipzig) as well as Robin Gosens (Union Berlin) may face an uncertain future in the national team XI after their snubs in November.

And though Havertz, like Florian Wirtz after him, was once one of the brightest German attacking prodigies of his generation at Leverkusen, his England adventure has only served up clouds over his future. The attacking midfielder has had difficult getting settled in — or finding a set position — at both Chelsea FC and Arsenal. Could his national team venture at left-back make for a trifecta of developmental setbacks for Havertz?

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