Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren is set to be involved in Croatia's World Cup qualifiers after burying the hatchet with coach Ante Cacic. The 27-year-old was one of a number of senior players who asked not to be called up for Croatia's two most-recent games, against Northern Ireland and Iceland, for personal reasons.
Lovren has endured an up and down relationship with Cacic, having been left out of the Euro 2016 squad. The decision led to both men exchanging words in the media, but Lovren subsequently returned to the international fold for the September match with Turkey, against whom he was an unused substitute.
However, Lovren has been a Liverpool regular this season and is now poised to play a prominent role in Croatia's efforts to qualify for the World Cup in Russia. "I think we've said enough about that this year - for me, there is no case with Lovren," Cacic said of the Liverpool defender, according to Sky Sports.
"I know that when I feel he is needed for the team he will be called up and of course he will come to play for the national team. I was his first senior coach, all the way back in 2006 at Inter Zapresic, I know him very well. He was a young player then and he's shown that he has the capacity to have a respectable career."
Despite having previously overlooked Lovren, Cacic said he was proud of the Liverpool defender and eager to include him in his side. "We are all proud of him because he's playing for a big club in England, one of the two best leagues in the world, along with Spain, which is a great satisfaction for everyone who's worked with him and especially for him personally," he said of Lovren, who joined Liverpool in 2014.
"To any national team, including Croatia, he's a needed player, somebody that we don't want to not use in the future."