Timo Werner on the secret to his speed and what Chelsea must learn from his Brighton debut


Timo Werner did not learn of his ‘Turbo Timo’ nickname until earlier this week and was a little surprised upon hearing it for the first time. As an instant reaction, the 24-year-old, who clocked 11.1sec over 100m as a teenager, says it is a good fit but he would like to add a few additional words to signify he is more than just a fast runner.

“It’s not the worst nickname and hopefully I can show it fits good to me,” Chelsea’s new striker says.

“That I’m fast is a really good thing for me because it gives me a lot of opportunities in the game where I can score goals, where I can create chances for the team and other players. It’s a nickname that I can maybe say Turbo Timo scores a lot of goals?”

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Frank Lampard and co certainly hope so. Werner did well in his opening Premier League game, Monday’s 3-1 win away to Brighton, and that speed was clear to see as he lived on the shoulders of the Albion defenders.

Much of the explosive pace comes down to his upbringing in Stuttgart, when his dad Gunther Schuh would have him running up mountains to drive home a relentless work ethic while clocking some impressive times on the track as a teenager.

“The last time I ran 11.1seconds was when I was 15 or 16 so hopefully I’m a little bit faster,” Werner says. “My father always wanted me to be very fast and give me strength in my muscles by running up hills. It helped me a lot.

“It gave me this way to work hard – the fitness and strength for the game does not come from doing nothing. It was not the time I say ‘the hills give me my fastness’ but how you have to train and work hard and have fitness to pass defenders.”

His dad, who played semi-professionally before heading into youth coaching, would also give him a euro every time he scored a goal. “It was a little bit like for kids that you could get candy for every goal,” Werner recalls. “Not much money but a very small amount. If I score 10 goals I get 10 euros which means a lot of candy.”

While Werner is fully aware that the pace of English football is a bit more frantic than the Bundesliga, he is used to coming up against low blocks and deep defensive lines.

It was something he worked hard on at Leipzig, helped by the sharp tactical mind of their head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who encouraged him to drop deeper to draw out teams willing to sit back.

“Not every team when I scored 28 goals [last season] pressed me high and allowed me to make runs in behind the defenders,” he says. “Maybe 10-12 teams against Leipzig are also deep in their own half and defend with nine or 10 defenders behind the ball and I scored [against them] as well.

“I think I developed myself playing this way a lot. I think my manager [Nagelsmann] developed me in these things very well and gave me so much advice on how I can improve myself. I think I am a good player in these things, the manager showed me when we talked a lot on how we can score against deep defending teams.”

Admittedly, Werner is not clued up on every Premier League opponent in these early weeks of life in London but there is no shortage of confidence that Chelsea’s style suits him and he will thrive regardless of how other sides line up.

“I think English football is very fast. A bit faster than German football. There are a lot of different styles of football, five or three at the back or four at the back like us.

“Some different systems in the league and how they play football. A lot of teams press high like Brighton did against us but others sit deep in their own half. Against us, a lot of teams will stay deep and want to consider their own goal but in the end it will be not the other team and about how we play football.

“We want to stretch teams, keep the ball and have a different style of football in our game. We want possession and rotate positions, move and create space for other players. We can also press and play on the counterattack.

“So I think it is more important what we are doing, not what other teams are doing. We are training a lot in this style and we become better and better in this way. That’s the point.”





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