Hat-trick hero Havertz dusts off the cobwebs to kickstart Chelsea career
The 21-year-old had struggled in his opening two matches for the Blues, but against Barnsley he offered a glimpse of what he is capable
Kai Havertz might be playing for a new club in a new country having had nothing like a normal pre-season, but football fans tend not to care in the modern world of social media.
After two less than stellar showings in his opening appearances for Chelsea, there were some - believe it or not - who were already beginning to question whether the Blues were right to spend an initial £62 million ($79m) on the Germany playmaker.
Against Barnsley on Wednesday the former Bayer Leverkusen star clicked into gear, scoring his first career hat-trick as Frank Lampard's side ran out 6-0 winners in the third round of the Carabao Cup.
Of course there will be tougher tests to come for Havertz and Chelsea, but his treble against the Championship side will keep the Twitter trolls quiet for a few days at least.
It was felt that Chelsea pulled off something of a coup by signing Havertz, as they took advantage of financial uncertainty elsewhere to bring in a player many felt would be destined for Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.
Still, after a quiet 79-minute debut against Brighton where he was deployed on the right-hand side of a front three, Havertz was then hauled off at half-time having played as a false nine in Sunday's 2-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool.
Against Barnsley, though, Lampard allowed his new attacking star to play in his favoured No 10 role, and he certainly looked more at home as he combined well with Tammy Abraham ahead of him while Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi covered the flanks.
It was Abraham who opened the scoring on the night following a mistake from Barnsley defender Aapo Halme, with his error undermining a positive start from the visitors.
From there Havertz took over, with the 21-year-old opening his account for his new club having latched onto a pass from Mount that was cleverly dummied by Abraham.
Aside from his goals, Havertz's ability to win the ball high up the pitch was another characteristic of his performance, and it was that willingness to work hard while out of possession that led to Ross Barkley making it 3-0 just after half-time.
Havertz added two more goals of his own with simple finishes laid on by assists from Abraham to claim the match ball before being replaced on the 66th minute, with his performance giving Lampard food for thought in terms of his role going forward as he reaches full match fitness.
“He has played in several positions through his career," Lampard said ahead of kick-off. "No 8, 10, a lot last year on the right. I have my own ideas of where I see him playing going forward.
"The main point now is to get him fit. He is heavily in pre-season mode, and because of the situation we have we’re not in the position to bring in players on big money where we can wait and integrate him into the team.
"Kai has come here to be a huge talent for this team and we just need to get him fit and ready, and then the position will become very clear.”
Havertz was the clear star attraction on a night where most eyes were on fringe players who were aiming to show Lampard why they deserve to start against West Bromwich Albion in the Premier League on Saturday.
"It is my first ever hat-trick," Havertz said to Chelsea's Fifth Stand App. "I will put the ball in a good corner in my house. It is a very big thing for me personally, but the most important thing is that we won.
"I think the first two matches were very difficult for me because I didn’t have pre-season and I trained only one week with the team but I think, step-by-step, I will be fitter.
"The match today was very good for me to get more confidence and I hope to continue like that. On Saturday, we have our next game and now we focus on that."
One of those was Hudson-Odoi, but the England international could not shine as brightly as his new, expensive team-mate.
As well as Havertz finally showing his worth, fellow summer signings Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell were given their first run-outs of the campaign, with the latter coming off the bench to set up Olivier Giroud for the sixth and final goal of the evening.
However this was Havertz' night as he put in the kind of performance Chelsea fans will want to be seeing week in, week out over the course of the season. If that proves to be the case, some of those less than complimentary social media comments might look a little ill-advised in a few months' time.