Whatever we make of the future of Borna Barisic, one thing is for sure – Croatia have never had stronger competition for his position, which may explain why he’s lost his way a little bit for the NT.
Last night, Celtic’s Croatian RB Josip Juranović curiously stepped into the LB slot for his country despite the options they have, with no place in the squad v France for Barisic, Borna Sosa of VfB, Joško Gvardiol of Leipzig or Lille’s Domagoj Bradarić.
Gvardiol is now the absolute first choice there, and given his CV it’s no surprise – he’s 20 and already has a market value allegedly around £100M, being the national team’s Calvin Bassey – equally as good at CB as he is at LB.
But behind him, Lille’s Bradaric, Stuttgart’s Sosa, and Rangers’ man.
As well, curiously now, as Celtic’s RB Juranovic.
It means that the position Barisic sowed up as his own no longer is – in truth, he lost his place at the Euros last season to the Leipzig star Gvardiol, despite being the first choice in qualifying, and has found caps hard to come by the past year or two.
His own loss of form didn’t help, but sadly for Borna, a position he thought he’d sown up for the NT is now one where he’s rather down the pecking order.
Aging now as he is, Barisic has probably already peaked and we do wonder what his future path contains.
Still consider him one hell of a player on his day though, and if he stays at Ibrox, he has much to offer.