Kai Havertz has "huge potential" according to Mateo Kovacic, who insists he has "no fear" for the "elegant" midfielder despite the struggles he has endured at the start of his Chelsea career.
Chelsea invested £70 million ($95m) in Havertz's talents during the summer transfer window. The Germany international committed to a five-year contract at Stamford Bridge after leaving Bayer Leverkusen where he had established himself as one of the most exciting young playmakers in Europe.
The 21-year-old has been unable to build on that reputation in the first half of the 2020-21 campaign. Havertz has only recorded four goals and four assists in his 19 apperances for the Blues to date and was dropped to the bench for the club's last two Premier League fixtures.
Kovacic started ahead of the ex-Leverkusen star during Chelsea's 3-1 defeat at Arsenal over the weekend with Frank Lampard now facing another selection dilemma ahead of a tough home fixture against Aston Villa on Monday.
Havertz is in line for a recall with Lampard set to ring the changes in the wake of his side's fourth defeat of the season, and Kovacic has backed his new team-mate to prove his doubters wrong once he adjusts to the demands of English football.
"I like Kai Havertz a lot," the Croatian midfielder told Chelsea's official website. "He is such a talented player. He is a great signing for Chelsea. He will be a huge player for Chelsea and for world football, I’m sure of that.
"He has huge potential. He is such an elegant player. He just needs to learn to play in the Premier League, that’s all. It’s a difficult league with a huge tempo, and he will get used to it. Game by game he is getting better so I have no fear for Kai."
Kovacic also reserved special praise for Mason Mount, who has become one of the most important members of Lampard's squad during his first 18 months in charge at Stamford Bridge.
Mount and Havertz are both five years younger than Kovacic but he says he is eager to learn from the Chelsea duo as he seeks to advance his own career.
"Mason has a great desire to work, his attitude is great and he is very talented," he added. "It’s a normal thing he is doing so good because I saw last year his talent. We like to talk. They can give me tips as well. They are both better goalscorers than me so I can look to them.
"It’s not about the age. Every player has his attributes. We talk and we can learn off each other. For me, I want to become better every game. I can still improve and be better in some parts of games which I’m trying to do. I can improve a lot and I’m sure I will be even better as the season goes on."