Carlton Cole has claimed that Chelsea forward Timo Werner doesn’t have the qualities to play a central attacking position by himself, but manager Frank Lampard should ignore his comments.
Despite scoring eight goals and supplying five assists during his opening 20 appearances for the Blues, there is a lot of discussion about how to get the best out of Werner.
The Germany international is a versatile attacker that has been used already this season centrally, on the left and on the right.
Cole has made the suggestion that the 24-year-old is most effective as a central striker, but claimed he needs to work off a target man like Olivier Giroud or Tammy Abraham.
“He’s more effective down the middle, but he needs a big man with him because when Werner came he was startled to see the size of the defenders over here,” Cole told talKSPORT.
“When you look at Werner he’s not that big and the style that Chelsea are set up to play is with a big man really. You’ve got Giroud and Tammy Abraham, so you’ve got two of those sort of players… Putting him down the middle on his own is not going to suit him, so he’s going to need someone up front.”
Lampard has opted to use Werner mainly as a left-winger in recent games, but he needs to scrap that idea and play him down the middle.
The main issue with Cole’s comments is he’s suggesting moving away from the 4-3-3 formation to accommodate two strikers, but that system has been effective for large parts of the season despite consecutive defeats to Wolves and Everton.
Werner isn’t the type of attacker that is going to dribble past two men and clearly he’s not suited to a wide role, but playing him down the middle where he can sit on the shoulder of the last defender can be so effective.
The notion that the speed machine can’t play in a lone striker role is bizarre, as he’s done it well in glimpses this campaign and previously did it to great effect at former club RB Leipzig.
He’s got the intelligence to drop deeper to help link up play, while offensively he frightens centre-backs with his raw pace and his movement around the penalty box.
Lampard’s hand has been forced due to injuries lately to slot Werner into a wide position, but when the natural wingers return he should be in direct competition with teammates Giroud and Abraham for the number nine role.