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Kovačić missed Croatia’s loss against England with ‘little’ leg muscle injury

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Uh-oh

Croatia Training Session - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

It wouldn’t be an international break without at least one injury concern, so here is Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovačić to fulfill that quota.

After going as an unused substitute in Croatia’s 3-2 win over Spain on Thursday, Kovačić wasn’t even named in the matchday squad in the 2-1 loss to England earlier today due to a “leg muscle injury”.

Uh-oh.

Speaking to reporters after the match, Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić called the issue just a “little” injury, but is was clearly non-little enough to rule out the man who had not missed a competitive match in over a year (and playing in all but three of them).

Uh-oh.

Kovačić now has five days to recover for Chelsea’s match against Spurs on Saturday, the first in the long, grueling winter stretch in the fixture list.

While the emergence of Ross Barkley, who played the first hour for England today, and the presence of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who went as an unused substitute, could soften the blow if the Real Madrid loanee were to miss any time, we will need the full depth of the squad if we are to keep pace in the league and continue challenging for trophies in the all the cup competitions.