Inter Milan hardly felt the absence of midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu against Lecce, As Kristjan Asllani really stepped up.

Today’s print edition of Milan-based newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport, via FCInterNews, highlight the Albanian’s performance in the 4-0 Serie A win for the Nerazzurri.

This season, there have been few players Inter have been as loath to do without as Calhanoglu.

The Turkish international has been the Nerazzurri’s key man at the heart of midfield.

Calhanoglu has set the tone for the team’s possession game. And his defensive effort has also been vital in shoring things up in front of the back three.

But Calhanoglu was absent yesterday evening.

The 30-year-old had picked up a muscle strain that kept him out of action.

Therefore, it was Calhanoglu’s understudy who had the task of dictating the tempo in the regista role.

Asllani got what is a relatively rare opportunity to start in midfield.

And the former Empoli midfielder showed his quality.

Inter Don’t Miss Calhanoglu As Kristjan Asllani Steps Up Vs Lecce

The holding midfield role is a difficult one for many young players. It is a position that requires discipline and maturity as much as talent.

But Asllani did not look out of his depth against Empoli yesterday.

The 21-year-old moved the ball well, making himself an option in possession and then playing the right passes consistently.

Moreover, Asllani made sure that Inter did not miss Calhanoglu’s creativity either.

The Albanian international popped up with a key contribution early on by assisting Inter captain Lautaro Martinez’s opening goal.

It was a slide rule pass from the young midfielder that was perfectly into Martinez’s stride.

Given that Inter will have to do without Calhanoglu for another match or two, they will likely be relying on Asllani more.

And the 21-year-old showed yesterday that this is not necessarily cause for concern.