Frank Lampard said he had several chats with Timo Werner and they both agreed that the left winger role suits the Germany international. But what would it mean for Christian Pulisic?
Werner is a bit of a conundrum for the Chelsea manager initially.
The 24-year-old is not an out-and-out striker you would associate with the No.9 role while he is certainly not a conventional winger either.
He usually played in a pair with either Yussuf Poulsen or Patrik Schick in his RB Leipzig days but, as we know, Lampard doesn’t use a two-man up front system.
Lampard has experimented with his new signing, by playing Werner in both No.9 and left-winger position. And apparently, he has found the answer now.
Speaking in his post-match press conference (via HaytersTV), Lampard told the reporters: “I know Timo, from the many conversations I’ve had with him, that he is comfortable on the left side.
“In the early stages of the season we had one fit out-and-out winger. Christian (Pulisic), Hakim (Ziyech) were out and Callum (Hudson-Odoi) was getting match fit.
“We have options but those options were tight at the beginning of the season.
“I know Timo can do it and he gives the chance for Tammy or Oli (Giroud) to give their attributes as a central striker.”
Given what Werner could do in the final third – seven goals and two assists in 11 appearances in all competitions so far – Lampard understandably wants to find a way to fit the forward into his system.
Lampard further explained that Werner could be a left inside forward in the long term, which would also allow the manager to field a conventional striker who can hold up the ball like Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud in his line-up.
“The way we want to play in a 4-3-3, you get plenty of opportunities as a left-side winger or inside winger to get into the box,” Lampard added.
“It really suits him. We saw loads of fluidity in the front three as a whole.”
Bad news for Pulisic?
If Werner becomes a left winger going forward, it means Pulisic who also enjoys operating in the left flank will have to lose his spot.
The American’s reoccurring fitness problems certainly don’t help his case since Lampard cannot rely on him on a weekly basis while, so far, Werner is far more dependable.
There will be times when Lampard would want to use Werner as a No.9 or give him a rest in which Pulisic could feature. But will the former Borussia Dortmund winger be content with a limited role in the squad?