The Croatia international completed a loan move to Chelsea FC from Real Madrid in the 2018 summer transfer window to bolster Maurizio Sarri’s midfield options.
Kovacic has settled into life at Chelsea FC in the middle of the park, despite stiff competition from Jorginho, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek.
Sarri had started Kovacic in six of their 11 games in the Premier League ahead of Sunday’s clash with Everton, while the World Cup finalist has come off the bench on three occasions in the English top flight.
The Croatian star produced the assist for Eden Hazard’s goal in a 1-1 draw with Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge last month, but the on-loan Real Madrid midfielder is yet to find the back of the net ahead of Everton’s visit on Sunday.
Kovacic was a substitute in Chelsea FC’s 3-1 victory over Crystal Palace last weekend, producing an eye-catching cameo performance to help get the Blues over the line.
Former Chelsea FC winger Nevin has been impressed with Kovacic’s ability to influence the game from the bench, adding that Hazard and Jorginho flourished upon the Croatian’s introduction.
“I personally felt the impact of Mateo Kovacic was at least as important to how we played and vitally, where we played the game,” Nevin wrote in his Chelsea FC column.
He continued: “When he came on along with Eden the play seemed to quicken up markedly. The understanding and the impact he has when he is alongside Jorginho is quite incredible, without always being ‘hit you in the face’ obvious.
“Jorginho seems to grow as well and Sarri-ball becomes slicker and more inventive. It also seems to move the ball quicker up the field much to the concern of opponents.”
Kovacic scored three times in 110 games in all competitions during three seasons at the La Liga giants, winning three successive Champions League titles.
He made a name for himself at Inter Milan between 2012 and 2015, netting eight times in 98 games during a difficult spell for the Serie A giants.
Kovacic was part of the Croatia team that reached the World Cup final in Russia in the summer, before a 4-2 loss to France in the Moscow showpiece.
He was particularly impressive in their win over Argentina in the group stage, making an assist for Ivan Rakitic in a 3-0 win.
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