Luton Town manager Graeme Jones believes that goalkeeper Simon Sluga will benefit from being called up to the Croatia side for the September international break.
Sluga, who joined the Hatters for a club-record fee from HNK Rijeka during the summer transfer window, has joined up with his national team for their Euro 2020 qualifying fixtures away to Slovakia and Azerbaijan over the next week.
The 26-year-old has featured in every one of Luton’s six league games so far, and after some high profile errors earlier in the season, has started to show signs of settling into his role between the posts recently.
That is something that Jones believes will only be helped further by the international break, as the Hatters boss told Luton Today: “I think it will do Simon the world of good.
“He’s come in on a whirlwind for six weeks and I mean a whirlwind, as the Championship is demanding, it’s a shock for everybody.
“I think when he goes away with Croatia and he has a day off, has an easier day and he’s in his hotel room, he’ll settle down and we’ll get an even better Simon Sluga when he comes back from international duty.”
Reflecting on how Sluga has adapted to life in the Championship, Jones added: “He’s showed great character as it hasn’t been straightforward for him.
“He’s shown the character to dig in and want to learn and we’re all better for these experiences.”
Having won two and drawn one of their opening six games of the Championship season, Luton currently sit 15th in the early standings in the division, and are next in action when they travel to QPR a week on Saturday.
I can see what Jones is saying here.
After what was a difficult start to the campaign for Sluga, the goalkeeper has begun to settle down slightly in recent weeks, and this time away could help him to do that further.
This spell with Croatia should allow him to reflect on the campaign so far, while also focus on other issues, almost allowing him to return to Luton with something of a clean slate following those first six games of the league season.
You also feel that Croatia should be expected to pick up some decent results against Azerbaijan and Slovakia, and being involved in a successful week away here should only serve to boost Sluga’s confidence and mood further ahead of his return to Kenilworth Road.