Although the fine form of Messrs Novakovic and Dedic has generally restricted him to substitute appearances, Zlatan Ljubijankic played a significant role for Slovenia during the preliminaries, appearing in no fewer than eight of their qualifying matches. The 26-year-old has also managed four goals at international level, a highly respectable return given that just two of his 15 appearances for Slovenia thus far have come as a starter.
England will certainly be wary of a player who scored against them at Wembley in a 2-1 friendly win for the Three Lions last September, a match that offered further proof that Ljubijankic is unlikely to be phased by the big stage. At club level, the 6ft 1ins striker forms one half of Gent’s Slovenian international duo with Marco Suler. Like Suler, he has become a regular for the Belgian outfit since making the switch in 2008 after six successful seasons with Slovenia’s Domzale. While he is not prolific in the Jupiler League, Ljubijankic’s work ethic and ability to hold the ball up make him a valuable asset to club and country, and he is anxious to play his part in a Slovenia side in which the team takes precedence over any individual.
As he told FIFA.com: “Our biggest strength is our team spirit. Nobody plays for himself and the atmosphere we've got in the squad is a great asset to have.”