Germany manager Hansi Flick was not satisfied with Timo Werner’s performance in the 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Romania on Friday.
The 25-year-old, who has been Germany’s first-choice number nine since Flick took over, once again got the nod to start.
Disappointingly, he failed to register any shot on target before being replaced by Thomas Muller in the second half.
Werner still created two chances for his team, but could not continue his fine goalscoring form for the national team.
Flick insisted that the Chelsea star could have easily had more goalscoring opportunities if he had been more clever with his positioning.
“[Werner] is quite capable of opening up spaces where it is tight and converting rebounds,” the former Bayern Munich manager said in his post-match press conference (via Sport Buzzer).
“[But] he didn’t have the positioning you need.
“He was often parallel with Serge Gnabry or Leroy Sané, who had the ball.
“We still have to train that a bit.
“In Leipzig, he had 25 to 30 goal contributions every season. He is a striker who knows how to score goals.
“Timo plays in a top team at Chelsea. He gets the assignments with us, he gets the backing with us.”
Werner has rarely played as a lone striker, so his positioning issue might have stemmed from an unfamiliarity with the role.
At Chelsea, he often plays as a left winger in Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 system and has the licence to roam.
As Flick pointed out, Werner’s goalscoring record at RB Leipzig suggests he should be an elite level striker, but even there, he did not exactly play as the furthest man forward.
With his pace, Werner should be a counter-attacking nightmare for the opposition as a number nine. The problem is that he often lacks the ability to hold the ball in a possession-based team.
Therefore, unless Flick plans to implement more counter-attacking football, Kai Havertz might be a better option as a number nine.
Werner scored three goals in three games for Germany in September, though.
Flick clearly fully trusts Werner and might actually be able to unleash his full potential in this role.