(During the next 30 days, starting May 10th, CroatianSports will be giving “season grades” to 30 of Croatia’s most important football players: Starting XI, bench, fringe, prospects. Grades will be given on preseason expectations vs. actual season performance; not stats.)
Day 4: Mateo Kovačić
Season Grade: A-
2 goals in 2-0 victory over Turkey in Euro Qualifier
Outside of the boot volley in 3-1 triumph over Leicester
Dominant performance against Canada in the WC
Team next season:
- Stay at Chelsea (40%)
- Gundogan replacement at Man City (30%)
- Back to Inter Milan (30%)
What to improve next season:
In terms of repka performance, Kova has been improving and gaining consistency. Not to sound like a broken record, but finding that killer instinct in the box and threading that final third pass is his only weakness as a midfielder right now. He’s had a few bangers this season but if he can elevate his game to 3-5 more goals and 5-6 more assists per season, he can be borderline world class.
What the future holds:
Despite the slow season with Chelsea (where everyone is underforming), Kovačić has really started to grow into his own with the NT. He should move to a club that will respect him more and see him as an integral part to their squad so Kova’s confidence can continue to grow and reflect into on-the-pitch performances for the NT. Who knows when we’ll have a midfield as strong as our current one and we need them all in top shape to lift one of the next few tournaments (UNL/Euro/WC).