Arsenal's Jorginho defends team-mate Kai Havertz following criticism

Arsenal midfielder Jorginho insists it is ‘impossible’ to not like his team-mate Kai Havertz as he defends the £65m summer signing, and reveals why he has changed his run-up to overcome penalty woes

  • Jorginho has defended his Arsenal team-mate Kai Havertz following criticism
  • Jorginho has also revealed why he has changed his penalty run-up recently
  • Man City are vulnerable, but come the spring they will put on the afterburners. Leaders Arsenal must seize their moment now – Listen to It’s All Kicking Off

Arsenal midfielder Jorginho has leapt to the defence of his team-mate Kai Havertz following criticism of the £65m summer signing.

Havertz arrived from Chelsea in June after three years at Stamford Bridge that saw him score a Champions League final winning goal in his first season, but also flatter to deceive for long periods.

He made a slow start to his Arsenal career, scoring just one penalty in his first 19 matches. The German international has received criticism for his performance at the Emirates, but Jorginho insists the Arsenal squad appreciate what Havertz brings to the team, even if fans are yet to be fully convinced.

‘If you know football, it’s not possible that you don’t like Kai. It’s impossible,’ Jorginho told The Athletic Football Podcast.

‘But when you play beside him, it’s just different. You see straight away his qualities and what he can offer you.’

Jorginho (right) has defended his Arsenal team-mate Kai Havertz (left) following criticism

Havertz is yet to fully convince some fans, but Jorginho insists he makes other players better

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Havertz appears to be finding his feet after netting in two of his last three outings, and Jorginho feels he has an important role to play for Mikel Arteta’s men as he helps those around him play better. 

Jorginho continued: ‘You just look at him and you understand what he wants and what he expects from you, where he expects the ball, the way he puts his body in certain positions. 

‘He knows what he wants next. He makes things easier for who is beside him.’

Jorginho has featured regularly for Arsenal this season alongside Havertz and Declan Rice, helping the Gunners move two points clear at the top of the Premier League.

The 31-year-old has brought much-needed experience to Arsenal’s midfield in his first year at the club, but has had one specific issue in recent times – penalties.

Having been a reliable penalty taker at Chelsea, he has missed three consecutive penalties for Italy, with his latest failure coming in a World Cup qualifier against North Macedonia last month.

Italy boss Luciano Spalletti backed Jorginho to continue taking penalties in the aftermath of that match, but the midfielder has since decided that he needed to make a change to get back to his best from the spot.

He has become known for his distinctive run-up to penalties over the years, opting for a hop, skip and a jump in an attempt to put the goalkeeper off.

Jorginho missed his third consecutive penalty for Italy against North Macedonia last month

He has since changed his penalty run-up, and he scored a spot-kick against Lens last week

He changed that approach when he took a penalty in Arsenal’s 6-0 win against Lens last week, and on that occasion he scored.

Jorginho has now explained the thinking behind the tweak to his penalty run-up. 

‘Goalkeepers are studying more and more. Taking a penalty is getting harder and harder,’ he said.

‘The game is changing. At some point I felt that I needed another option.’


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