Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren may not be selected for the European Championships in France according to Croatia head coach Ante Cacic. 62 year old Cacic was appointed in September replacing Niko Kovac and helped the side to second place behind Italy to qualify for the tournament in the summer but Cacic was critical of Lovren for his warm up as a substitute in a 1-1 draw against Hungary last month. Lovren responded by giving Cacic an ultimatum speaking to Sportske novosti:
“I will not apologise, I will either travel to France as a starting player or I am not going.”
Cacic responded to the statement, and is quoted by the Mirror as saying:
“I already said when appointed as coach that the Croatia squad is above any individual, I will not give up that view for anyone. In Croatia’s locker room there is no place for ultimatums, there should be respect for the Croatian jersey, team-mates and coach.”
Lovren is expected to start alongside Mahmadou Sakho in the centre of defence against Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of the Europa League quarter final on Thursday. Croatia manager Cacic however did cool his war of words with 26 year old Lovren slightly by saying:
“I hope he will accept the decision in a mature manner and realise that even the best players put themselves in the service of the collective first – and then think about themselves.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been full of praise for Lovren since he arrived at the club. Speaking in March, Klopp described the Croatian centre back as being “really good” since his appointment as Reds manager.