Midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu has established himself at the heart of Inter Milan over the past twelve months or so.

Italian news outlet Gazzett.it highlight the 29-year-old’s growth since last fall.

At the start of last season, Calhanoglu was already a regular starter for Inter.

The Turkish international had established himself on the left of the Nerazzurri’s trio in his first season at the club after joining from city rivals AC Milan in the summer of 2021.

But Calhanoglu had not yet made himself a truly central player to the Inter project.

However, Inter coach Simone Inzaghi turned to the Turk as an emergency cover for Marcelo Brozovic at the base of the midfield trio after the Croat picked up an injury.

And it was there that Calhanoglu really became a key man for Inter. The former Rossoneri and Bayer Leverkusen man became a leader of this Nerazzurri team.

Hakan Calhanoglu Becomes Key Man For Inter In Regista Role

Calhanoglu was initial nothing more than a temporary solution whilst Brozovic was out.

Or so it seemed, at least.

The Turk’s first match at the base of midfield was a start against Barcelona in the Champions League.

That match was virtually must-win for Inter.

The pressure was immense following a defeat against Roma in Serie A. That was a low point in what had been a dire start to the season for the Nerazzurri.

So it was a daunting prospect to play a key Champions League match against opposition like Barcelona in those circumstances without a player like Brozovic.

But Calhanoglu truly excelled in that match.

The midfielder showed that he had fully learned the defensive side of the deep midfield role.

And it was Calhanoglu’s goal that made the difference in a 1-0 win for Inter. That result was obviously key in the Nerazzurri reaching the knockouts.

Ever since then, Calhanoglu has been just about the first name on the teamsheet in the deep role when fit.