Lovre Kalinic left Belgian side Gent and made a switch to Aston Villa in the winter market.

The goalkeeper was part of Croatia’s squad for the 2018 World Cup, at which they lost to France in the final.

Danijel Subašić was the first choice stopper during last summer’s tournament and following his retirement, the Championship side’s custodian has been the preferred keeper for national team coach Zlatko Dalić.

Kalinic made his Croatia debut in 2013 and the 28-year-old has made 18 appearances for his country so far, conceding 23 goals and keeping four clean sheets in the process.

His last clean sheet was against Mexico in March 2018 and Croatian newspaper 24sata has come up with statistics which show Kalinic has conceded 1.39 goals per match, the ‘worst average in the history’ of the national team.

Subašic has the best record as he has conceded 0.67 goals per game, while Stipe Pletikos and Dražen Ladić stand at 0.8 and 0.9 respectively.

Since replacing Subašic as the first choice keeper for Croatia, the Aston Villa cplayer hasn’t kept a single clean sheet.

Dalic has taken responsibility for his side’s poor form that has seen them win only two competitive matches since their defeat to France.

“Kalinic was our first goalkeeper and we did not want to move him from the post. I take responsibility because I put him there,” the Croatia manager explained.

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Croatia started their Euro 2020 qualifiers with a 2-1 win over Azerbaijan, while they suffered a 2-1 defeat to Hungary and Kalinic was in between the post for both the fixtures.

Former Croatia and Southampton keeper Ivan Katalinić is of the belief the Aston Villa player shouldn’t be blamed for his recent form.

“Kalinic now cannot be blamed for defeat to Hungary. The biggest problem before the game was to say who would defend and when the player reads it, he starts to doubt himself,” Katalinic said.

“Against poorer or less quality, goalkeepers must be highly motivated. Players often think ‘we are better and it will be easy’ but as a goalkeeper you can never.

“You’re the last line of defence, you just have to do the job right. For big games everyone is there anyway, nobody’s motivation is a problem.”