Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic withdrawn from Croatia squad after picking up injury


The 25-year-old was subbed off against Sheffield United at the weekend (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic has withdrawn from Croatia’s squad for Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Azerbaijan after picking up an injury at the weekend.

The 25-year-old, who was the only signing Chelsea were allowed to make this summer due to their transfer ban, has quickly established himself under new boss Frank Lampard.

He has started all but one of Chelsea’s five matches in all competitions this season, though was subbed off after 84 minutes of the 2-2 draw against Sheffield United on Saturday.

Sheffield United scored shortly after Kovacic was subbed off on Saturday (Picture: Getty)

Although it is hoped Kovacic has not suffered anything serious, the injury is significant enough that he will be unable to play any part in Croatia’s upcoming matches during the international break.

According to the Daily Mail, Kovacic inflamed an Achilles tendon in his right leg during the match against Sheffield United, with Croatia calling up Mijo Caktas instead.

Chelsea have a history with Achilles injuries, with both Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi missing the start of the new season after rupturing the tendon.

Both players were sidelined for months, though Kovacic’s injury is not as severe and can usually be fully healed within a few weeks.

Kovacic has impressed this season in a more adventurous role under Lampard (Picture: Getty)

Lampard was criticised for withdrawing Kovacic at the weekend – with the visitors scoring their equaliser a few minutes later – but defended the decision, saying the midfielder ‘was on his haunches, tired’.

The news is a blow for Croatia as much as Chelsea, with the side in need of points if they are to qualify from Euro 2020 qualifying Group E – they are currently third behind Hungary and Slovakia.





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