Over the last few weeks a number of Toffees have reported for international duty. Whether it be Jordan Pickford for the Three Lions or Fraser Hornby for the Scotland U21s our players no matter their age group have been busy. Nikola Vlasic is no exception. He may not have been selected for the senior Croatian side who were on the wrong end of a 6-0 pasting from Spain, but he did report for Croatia U21s putting on a stellar display in their most recent outing, a 4-0 victory over Belarus U21s.
Vlasic’s time at Everton was first met with anticipation but soon soured during his 19 appearances for the club in which he scored twice and collected one assist. He can certainly play and has shown quality on the pitch but not with the consistency that would win him a starting spot.
“I talked at the beginning of the (preseason) training with Everton coach Marco Silva, who openly told me he could not promise me a place among the first eleven.
“Since I’d practically lost last season, I didn’t want to repeat something like that and Everton gave me permission to find the club where I would play”
The Croatian attacking midfielder added that there were a few clubs that were lining up for him over the summer.
“I had good offers from France, Germany, Italy… had several quality chats with club coaches from these countries, but in the end the decision fell to CSKA. Coach Viktor Gončarenko wanted a young player of my character and gave me an excellent impression.
“Now I see that this was a great decision. I came to the big club, I play with continuity, soon I expect the performances in the Champions League. For now I’m very pleased.”
He is well aware of the weather conditions in Russia, and though the league takes a winter break, there are more than a few games he’ll have to play in bitterly cold conditions.
“I’ll get dressed for it, there’s no other way, ha, ha, ha… About the football conditions, that’s OK, stadiums are heated so we will not have a problem with freezing.
“And Moscow as a city… miraculous. A real world city, everyone finds something for themselves. The only problem is a traffic jams, if you are going to meet someone, always count that it takes you an hour or more to get there at the scheduled time.”
With another four years left on his contract, a good season with CSKA Moscow could prove to be a ticket back into the Premier League which I have no doubt he aspires to.
Unlike Luke Garbutt and Ashley Williams for example who have been underwhelming on loan though, Vlasic has been performing above average so a return to Goodison could be on the cards in the very near future.