Tottenham’s Dejan Kulusevski has been praised for his Swedish performance despite their 4-1 defeat to Serbia on Saturday night.
Sweden have missed out on a place in the World Cup later this year after being beaten by Poland in the play-offs.
Manager Janne Andersson is under great pressure and that will not change after a punishing night in Belgrade.
Aleksandar Mitrovic hit a hat-trick in a 4-1 rout, with Sasa Lukic hitting Serbia’s fourth.
All this came after Viktor Claesson had put Sweden in the lead, with Andersson’s side finally falling apart.
Tottenham’s Dejan Kulusevski has been praised
Claesson’s opening goal came from a Dejan Kulusevski assist where the Tottenham man picked out a fine cross.
Claesson did the rest with a fine finish but that was as good as it got for Sweden.
Of course, the Swedish press craves blood.
Missing out on the World Cup was bad enough, but three points after five UEFA Nations League games is a disaster.
The soccer channel has published its player ratings from yesterday’s defeat with five and four star ratings – for “world class” and “very good” are left completely blank.
Tottenham star Kulusevski was the only one to receive a three-star rating with praise on his way to being Sweden’s “best player”.
“World class in the run-up to Sweden’s 1-0 goal. Always tried to be creative but didn’t really have the teammates with him. Be the team’s best player,” they wrote.
Every second Swedish player received two or one star in the national media, who were clearly dissatisfied with the performance.
This is what we will expect from Kulusevski. In a post-Zlatan Ibrahimovic world for Sweden, Kulusevski should be their leading light.
The 22-year-old is so selfless, so creative, so mature for his age and Sweden will be looking for him to continue to shine – even if others around him falter.
Kulusevski doesn’t quite have that role in the Tottenham team but his importance cannot be overlooked; he brings something that Son Heung-min and Richarlison simply cannot offer.
Kulusevski hopes to start for Tottenham against Arsenal next weekend and take the international plaudits to Premier League action.
In other news, Chelsea are now looking to sign a £30m teenager as the Premier League club face transfer deja vu