The Premier League 60: No 51, Luka Modric

So, how did he do it? How did skinny little Luka Modric, the boy genius Tottenham Hotspur signed from Dinamo Zagreb, look so out of place on his arrival in the Premier League, only to then master it? Not even out wide or as a No 10, but right there in the middle of the pitch, as the scampering heart and brain of Harry Redknapp’s 4-4-2?

The answer is in his calves.

“In training, you couldn’t get the ball off him,” Jamie O’Hara once told me, speaking about a man he played alongside for Spurs. “Even though he was so small, his calves were like bricks. He was so strong and had this low centre of gravity.”

Remember what English football was like in the early years of Modric? He arrived in 2008, towards the end of an era best described by Jorge Valdano, who said that Chelsea’s Champions League semi-final against Liverpool in 2005 was just “shit on a stick”. Argentina international turned respected…

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