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Lovren insists he must start for Croatia

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The Liverpool centre-back may not take part at Euro 2016

Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren insists Croatia boss Ante Cacic must start him or he will not head to the European Championships this summer.

Cacic reportedly told the 26-year-old that he would be involved during the second half of Croatia’s 1-1 draw with Hungary, in Budapest. But, instead, he was left on the bench and not involved throughout the 90 minutes.

Lovren has started to find form for Liverpool, since Jurgen Klopp took over at Anfield in October, and feels he should be more involved with the national team.

Warm-up spat

But while the former Southampton man was left frustrated by his lack of game time for the national side, his anger was largely fuelled by a disagreement over returning to the bench following a warm up.

“I will not apologise, I will either travel to France as a starting player or I am not going,” Lovren said, after Croatia’s friendly against Hungary.

“I always get mad when papers publish half-truths. So, the fitness coach told me to go warm-up for 10-15 minutes. I said OK and went to warm up. After 15 minutes passed, I stayed there for a while, but it was cold and I had no jacket so I returned to the bench.

“Then the fitness coach came to me again asking ‘Why did you sit back?’. I told him my warming up of 10-15 minutes is finished.

“And he went to Cacic to tell him that…Look, no coach in the world does such warming-ups, in Liverpool after 15 minutes of warming up you either enter the pitch or return to the bench.

“I was told I would play the second half in Budapest. I was ready and also, the coach said we will all get a chance. And I didn’t. I don’t want to lie: I was pissed off.”

Lovren has began to win over Liverpool fans that he can be a valuable asset to the Reds, after making a less than convincing start to life at Anfield, having been prolific prior to his arrival, with Southampton.

The Croatia international has made 31 appearances for the Reds this season, with Liverpool to face Borussia Dortmund in a Europea League quarter-final second leg on Thursday.

And Lovren will need to continue his recent upturn in form to convince the Croatia boss to put him in his starting XI, with the Euros in France looming.

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