Kai Havertz has hailed praised N’Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger for their importance contribution in Chelsea’s Champions League success over Manchester City.
Havertz, who joined the west London club from Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen last summer, scored the only goal as the Blues beat Premier League champions Manchester City 1-0 in Porto.
Kanté, meanwhile, awarded man-of-the-match honour due to his masterful display in the middle of the park, prompting calls for the tireless French midfielder to be on the shortlist for this year’s Ballon d’Or.
The Frenchman, who joined the west London club from Leicester, has now added the Uefa Champions League to his glittering list of honours which include the World Cup, two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and Europa League.
And ahead of Euro 2020, with both Germany and France included Portugal and Hungary, Kai Havertz isn’t best pleased about the tough prospect of facing his ‘great’ club teammate Kante in their first group game against Les Bleus on June 15.
‘When you see [Kante], you have to smile,’ Havertz told reporters.
‘He is a great personality and a great person.
‘And a great football player. As an attacking player, I’m always happy when he is on the pitch. You can make a lot of mistakes because he always wins the ball back. He’s fast, agile and always gets his leg in.
‘That’s why it’s not so nice to have to play against him in the first match of the European Championship, of course.’
Kai Havertz was also full of praise for his fellow Germany international Rudiger, who had dropped down the pecking order at the club under Frank Lampard, but is thriving under Thomas Tuchel.
‘[Rudiger] has given us so much stability over the last few months,’ he added.
‘After Tuchel’s arrival, he played outstandingly.
‘As a mentality player, he’s also important. On the pitch, he’s a warrior. A bit like Kante – you want him in your team.
‘Playing against him in training isn’t as much fun either. The last few months have been top. It was very hard for him at first and now he’s fought his way out of it.’