Croatia vs England could see Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley competing head-to-head for the same spot in Chelsea’s starting line-up
The majority of Maurizio Sarri’s starting line-up picks itself.
All except the third midfield position.
Jorginho and N’Golo Kante fill the other two spots whilst Sarri hasn’t settled on who will be the other.
Mateo Kovacic and Ross Barkley have split time in the role, and if one of them starts, they will undoubtedly be replaced by the other.
But Friday’s Croatia vs England game in the Nations League could see the two come face-to-face as they compete to start for the Blues.
The game in Rijeka will be played behind closed doors because fans marked Croatia’s pitch with a swastika in 2015.
But Kovacic and Barkley will be looking to impress in front of the watching cameras.
Barkley’s inclusion in the England squad means his two years spent in the wilderness are over.
And the former Everton man is looking to rebuild his career at Chelsea after faltering having broke through at an early age.
Having suffered from a bad hamstring injury last season, Barkley had the perfect preseason and looks raring to go.
Kovacic is also looking to kick-start his career at Chelsea having arrived on loan from Real Madrid.
The Croatian joined the Spanish giants as a 21 year-old but failed to make an impact.
He had to settle for coming off the bench mostly, which is why he pushed through a loan move this summer.
And Kovacic has impressed Chelsea fans this season with some important displays, particularly against Liverpool.
But only one can start for Chelsea, and Friday’s clash offers Sarri to evaluate them both as they come head-to-head.