Joe Cole defends Timo Werner after Rafael van der Vaart compares Chelsea forward to a ‘blind horse’

Joe Cole has responded to Rafael van der Vaart’s criticism of Chelsea forward Timo Werner (Pictures: Getty)

Joe Cole has defended Timo Werner and backed the misfiring forward to ‘come good’ at Chelsea after Rafael van der Vaart compared him to a ‘blind horse’.

Germany international Werner has endured a frustrating season at Stamford Bridge, scoring ten goals in 42 appearances in all competitions.

Big things were expected of Werner following his impressive form for Bundesliga club RB Leipzig, but the 25-year-old admits he has struggled to adapt to his new surroundings and the demands of the Premier League.

This week, former Ajax, Real Madrid and Tottenham star Van der Vaart slammed Werner and said Hakim Ziyech should start ahead of him for Chelsea.

Asked whether this was purely because he knows Ziyech from Ajax, Van der Vaart told Ziggo Sport: ‘No, it’s because he’s the best option.

‘He is always able to provide for the striker and Giroud needs guys like him. Mount plays in exactly the same way, so that’s why I would pick him too.

‘Timo Werner is super fast, and maybe that is something good to have in an away game when Chelsea are under pressure, but all he does is put his head down and run, which leads to nothing.

Werner has struggled this season but Cole expects him to ‘come good’ (Picture: Getty)

‘Mount is a terrific footballer, and I think he can get even better as he gains some power, but Werner is truly a blind horse. He already shown that’s what he’s like when he played in Germany – and he’s doing it again now.’

Cole sees things differently for Werner, however, and expects him to develop into a ‘top player’ at Stamford Bridge over the next few seasons.

Asked about Van der Vaart’s criticism of Werner, Cole told talkSPORT: ‘He’ll come good. As a pundit, you’ve got to be very careful with your words.

Tuchel reacts as Chelsea reach first Champions League semi-final in seven years

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‘Timo Werner scored 30 goals in the Bundesliga last season. He’s not settled as well as he would have liked but there’s enough quality there. He does certain things well.

‘Listen, he’s not cultured, he’s not a Dennis Bergkamp, but he’s a runner, he’s a hustler and a bustler, a bit like Jamie Vardy.

‘I think he will season as he gets older and as he works on things. I’ve got no doubt that he can become a top, top player and I think he’ll come good.

‘The two lads have come over from Germany [Werner and Kai Havertz] in a pandemic year, they’re trying to settle. They’re both young men so you need to give them time. I’ve seen enough to think they will come good.’

Chelsea beat Porto 2-1 on aggregate to reach the Champions League semi-finals, where they will meet Real Madrid, who knocked out Liverpool.

On Saturday, Thomas Tuchel’s side face Premier League champions-elect Manchester City in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

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