As he prepares to take on Liverpool this weekend, Timo Werner has been discussing his new nickname, his father’s incentives for goalscoring and Toni Rudiger’s role in him switching the Bundesliga for Stamford Bridge this summer…
It took about 20 minutes of his English league debut for Timo Werner to use his renowned pace to damaging effect, capitalising on a mistake in possession from Brighton and springing into the box before being upended for a penalty.
That moment of sharpness, in the mind as much as across the turf, perfectly encapsulated the threat the German will pose to Premier League defenders this season – he is always moving, always waiting, always ready to pounce. If he is not thinking one step ahead of his opponents, he will burst away from them in a few strides instead.
Werner’s lightning speed has earned him the nickname ‘Turbo Timo’, a moniker some have suggested underplays the myriad other attributes he possesses as one of the brightest strikers in European football but one that the player himself is happy to take on.
‘I only heard about it recently for the first time,’ he admitted. ‘I was a little bit surprised but Turbo Timo is not the worst nickname for me. Hopefully I can show people that it suits me.
TIMO WERNER RELISHING TOUGH LIVERPOOL TEST
‘The fact that I’m fast is a really good thing because it gives me a lot of opportunities in the game where I can score goals and create chances for the team. Maybe in the future people will say I’m Turbo Timo who scores a lot of goals!’
When he was younger back in Germany, the teenage Werner ran 100 metres in just over 11 seconds (Usain Bolt’s world record is 9.58 seconds), a time he believes his 24-year-old self could probably better. His father used to encourage him to run up steep hills in order to improve his speed and power further.
‘I was 15 or 16 when I last ran 100 metres so hopefully I have got even faster since then,’ Werner said.
‘My father always knew I was fast and he wanted to give me a little more strength in my muscles so he got me to run up some hills. It helped me a lot to work hard because of the fitness and strength you need in football.’
A 17-YEAR-OLD WERNER IN ACTION FOR STUTTGART IN THE BUNDESLIGA
Gunther Schuh, Werner’s father and an amateur footballer himself in his own right, has played a significant part in his son’s journey from Stuttgart to Chelsea via Leipzig. He incentivised goalscoring in junior games by offering pocket money for every goal the young Timo scored, an agreement that switched to every header and left-footed goal given how frequently Schuh was parting with his money.
‘At the beginning of my career when I was nine or 10 years old, I went to a lot of tournaments and he gave me some pocket money for candy for every goal,’ Werner reflects on that time.
‘It wasn’t much but it was good for me to say “today I want to score 10 goals and then I will have 10 euros, which can buy me a lot of candy.” That was my feeling when I was a kid.’