TURIN, Italy (Reuters) - Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz’s versatility makes the German youngster a force to reckon with and Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri believes the 20-year-old could become a European star in the future.
Havertz has been instrumental in Leverkusen’s bright start to the Bundesliga campaign, with his two goals and an assist helping them to stand only one point behind leaders Bayern Munich after six games.
His ability to play either as a winger or an attacking midfielder in various formations has caught Sarri’s eye and the Italian said he was impressed with Havertz’s technical skills ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League clash in Turin.
“He is a player who combines excellent physical qualities with great technical skills,” Sarri told reporters on Monday. “At the moment they are using him mainly as an attacking midfielder behind the central forward or as a winger.
“I think he is a complete player that could also play as a midfielder. He is a player born in 1999... with those qualities and with that personality it makes you think it is certain he will become... one of the most important players in Europe.”
Leverkusen are bottom of Group D after a 2-1 loss at home to Lokomotiv Moscow in the first round of fixtures while Juve are tied with Atletico Madrid on one point after a 2-2 away draw.
Juventus face a top-of-the-table clash against Serie A leaders Inter Milan this weekend but Sarri said his mind was focussed on coming up with a plan to unlock a Leverkusen side that currently leads the Bundesliga’s possession statistics.
“If you know Bayer Leverkusen, you cannot think about our next match against Inter Milan because tomorrow we will have a very difficult match against a strong team, a team that is just one point behind Bayern Munich in the league,” Sarri added.
“It is the team which in the Bundesliga has the greatest ball possession, with the best physical values. It will be very difficult from a physical point of view.
“Bayer Leverkusen surprised me with their dribbling skills. It is a team that keeps possession of the ball for a long time during the game.”
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris