Thursday 5 June 2008
Modrić prepared to play to the crowd
Croatia playmaker Luka Modrić feels confident he will whet a few appetites in north London during UEFA EURO 2008™ as he shows Tottenham Hotspur FC fans what they can expect from him next season.
The 22-year-old agreed terms with the White Hart Lane outfit in April, joining from NK Dinamo Zagreb for a €21m fee. That equalled Tottenham's highest ever outlay on a player and, with England not competing this summer after twice losing to the Croatians in qualifying, the club's fans are sure to be scrutinising their new signing's every move. "I'm confident I'll live up to their expectations," said Modrić, not yet comfortable enough to express himself in English. "Also, some of the players there have told me they'll now have someone to watch and cheer for. I think I'll do well, but the most important thing is the team."
Drawn alongside co-hosts Austria, Germany and Poland in Group B, Croatia will at least be targeting a berth in the quarter-finals. Much will therefore depend on how much magic Modrić can conjure up in his role behind the front two, particularly in the absence of injured striker Eduardo da Silva, a player capable of creating chances for himself. Modrić remains undaunted, however, citing coach Slaven Bilić for giving him the confidence to express his talents. "We've been working together for three and a half years and Mr Bilić trusted me from the start," explained the 2007 Prva Liga Player of Year. "He trusted me to show what I can do on the pitch. It's a pleasure to be able to work with someone like him." Tottenham fans will get their first glimpse when Croatia face Austria in Vienna on Sunday.