The Graham Cummins column: Werner could yet be Premier League's top striker

Despite an awful start to his Chelsea career, the German international still has the class to shine
The Graham Cummins column: Werner could yet be Premier League's top striker

Chelsea's Timo Werner reacts to a foul during a Premier League match at Stamford Bridge. Picture: Mike Hewitt/PA Wire.

HE has had an indifferent start to his Premier League career but with a bit more composure and confidence, Chelsea striker Timo Werner has the potential to become the best player in the league.

Werner’s transfer to Chelsea last summer for €53million was seen as a bargain.

He had scored 28 league goals for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga the previous season and at 24, still has a lot of time on his side to improve. Liverpool were scrutinised as the why they didn’t sign the German international but after some of his performances for Chelsea, it was seen that the Premier League champs had dodged the bullet.

I often write about it, but it’s difficult for players to settle into a new club. Fans don’t seem to sympathise with a player that is moving to a new country, adapting to a new environment and joining a new club, can all take a player time to adjust to.

It’s never easy starting a new job and even though Werner is working in the same sector as before, playing for Chelsea is a completely different to playing for Leipzig.

When players first walk into a new club, it can be very unnerving. All eyes are on you and as the new player you go around shaking everyone’s hand, but within two minutes you're back in the corner keeping quiet because you are the ‘new guy’ just hoping that someone will engage in conversation with you.

Werner has arrived at Chelsea with all the expectation that he will be their saviour.

Sometimes, it does work out that a player hits the ground running but for others, it takes players time to adjust and patience is needed.

SLOW STARTER

Thierry Henry is the best striker to grace the Premier League but even he struggled at first when he joined Arsenal. The Frenchman scored two goals in his first 17 appearances for the Gunners but in time became the club’s all-time top scorer.

Werner has already netted 10 goals in 32 appearances for Chelsea, which isn’t a bad return for a player who hasn’t hit top form yet.

I would describe Werner as a raw talent. There is so much to his game that I like and parts that he can improve on.

His pace must frighten players and the way he can stand-up defenders and shift the ball past them is Werner’s top attribute. He’s an unpredictable player and sometimes I think he doesn’t even know what he is doing when he runs at defenders. 

I could never understand when I played with pacy players why they complicated things. 

Some feel they must do some sort of trick to beat a player, but my advice was always to my teammates, ‘if you’re quicker than the opponent just knock the ball past him and make it a race’. Werner needs to simplify his game to improve.

The German international's main weakness is his finishing. Like all strikers, when you go on a goal drought, it’s tough to have any sort of confidence.

He kept getting chances and getting into great positions but rushed his finishing, like a player that just wanted that moment over, never truly believing in himself.

Hopefully, the goal against Newcastle will give him that confidence because he always seems to get chances, he just needs to be calm in front of goal when he does.

Chelsea's Timo Werner scores against Newcastle/.
Chelsea's Timo Werner scores against Newcastle/.

Werner’s former manager Julian Nagelsman believed that the striker's problems this season might be down to the fact that he has gone from the “undisputed star striker in Leipzig” to “one of many stars” at Chelsea.

DOUBT

I understand what Nagelsman is saying because I felt similar in my first spell at Cork City compare to the rest of my career. I must admit, I felt like the main man at City first time round.

It didn’t affect me if I had a bad game or missed a chance because I knew I would be kept on the pitch and would always play the next game. Once I left City, I always questioned would I be starting in the team?

I went from the mindset of 'how much will I score?' to 'am I going to play next week?'

Werner might feel the same and it seems that Thomas Tuchel is prepared to make Werner his main man and if Werner gets that belief, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the German becoming one of the best players in the world.

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