A new “Full Metal Hakan Calhanoglu” has been at the heart of Inter Milan’s strong start to the Serie A season.
Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera, via FCInterNews, highlight how the 29-year-old has become the player who the Nerazzurri look to to give them their identity on the pitch.
It would be hard to name one single player as Inter’s most important at the start of the campaign.
That is always going to be the case when a team start off a season the way that the Nerazzurri have.
Many players have made their contribution, all over the pitch.
Certainly Inter captain Lautaro Martinez is an obvious candidate. The Argentine has been on fire in front of goal, whilst the captain’s armband attests to the fact that he provides far more than his goals.
But even Martinez arguably doesn’t shape Inter’s play in quite the way that Calhanoglu does.
How “Full Metal Calhanoglu” Has Become The Beating Heart Of Inter
When Calhanoglu arrived at Inter in the summer of 2021, he did so to play as a box-to-box midfielder.
That was the role that Nerazzurri coach Simone Inzaghi carved out for the Turk. Marcelo Brozovic was still the undisputed first-choice at the base of midfield.
But now, since the start of his third season at Inter, the situation has been much different.
Brozovic is gone. Calhanoglu stepped into the regista role during periods when the Croat was out with injury last season, and hasn’t looked back.
And this has meant a stylistic shift for the Nerazzurri.
With Brozovic in the engine room, there was a tendency towards a more controlled style of play.
The Croat had been a real expert in terms of short passing combinations. Therefore, he was able to really set a rhythm to the game.
Calhanoglu, on the other hand, interprets his position in a more all-action way.
The 29-year-old has looked very adept at immediately spotting a forward pass once he gets on the ball.
And defensively, Calhanoglu has only become more of a natural this season.
The former AC Milan and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder has shown intense physicality as well as strong reading of the game.
Calhanoglu has been the player who gives Inter their foothold in the midfield battle.
And the 29-year-old uses that as a platform. He is also the player who most frequently sets the team going forward with proactive passes.
Now more than ever, the Corriere della Sera suggests, Inter is “Full Metal Calhanoglu’s” team.