Ian Wright believes Arsenal star Kai Havertz isn’t yet “at that level” to have earned Mikel Arteta’s “trust”.
The big-money summer signing is now starting to find his feet at Arsenal after a difficult start to his debut season at the Emirates.
He scored two goals in two games, against Brentford and then Lens, but found himself on the bench for the 2-1 win over Fulham, with Leandro Trossard preferred from the start.
And Wright still thinks the former Chelsea star has some work to do to earn the full “trust” of his manager.
“Arteta knows he has got that up his sleeve, especially with Havertz now he has got confidence by scoring in his last couple of games,” Wright said.
“I think Trossard gives him a little bit more control. In a game where we are going to need to control – he gives us that little bit more stability and Kai maybe isn’t at that level yet, in respect to the trust Mikel will have in him, at the moment.”
But there has certainly been cause for optimism in Havertz’s performances of late, and one of Wright’s former Arsenal teammates said last week that the Germany international is “in the right place” to put his Chelsea “nightmare” behind him.
“He came to Arsenal with a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders and he was still carrying a lot of mental baggage after a dreadful season at Chelsea. Game after game, he was criticised heavily in the press,” Petit said.
“When you are criticised every week, that can affect your confidence as a player. He has also played in so many different roles, which wouldn’t have helped him. I think Havertz has had quite an unsettled couple of years.
“It was a nightmare for him at Chelsea last year and you could see that when he came to Arsenal, he was still affected by that. I think he needs time.
“I said a few weeks ago that Arteta should put him on the bench to relieve him of the pressure on his shoulders; try and give him minutes slowly. I think that step-by-step approach has brought the best out of him, and helped him rebuild his confidence.
“Havertz is in the right place. The Arsenal dressing room is the best dressing room that he could be in as a player.
“The group are very humble guys who love to play together with a great team spirit, which is exactly what he would have needed after the challenges he has faced over the last couple of years.”