Even though this blog is still wet behind the ears, I cannot believe that I have not yet raved about the boy genius that is Luka Modric. Maybe I have, so let’s do it again.
His leap of annoyance as Keane’s lame shot was pushed over by Reina could well be the most significant moment of Spurs’ season. Keano as usual tried to be too clever. The ball demanded to be clipped across the keeper with the instep. He should have taken his cue from the guy who set it up. A straightforward pass slotted into the space, precise and perfectly weighted, beguiling in its simplicity and one of many similarly composed and assured touches on Sunday afternoon.
The position from which it was delivered proved how involved he will be this season. Coming off the left wing, not drifting aimlessly but with purpose, he is less easy to mark, possessed of freedom born of the certainty that the unselfish Palacios will cover.
That gesture: if he’s involved then he wants his teammates to respond in kind. The fact that it was a public display means that he is no longer overawed by more senior colleagues. Finally, it proved it matters. Tottenham Hotspur matter.
If Modric plays, really plays, then we play. Last year comparisons with the incomparable Ardilles seemed fanciful and overblown, but nevertheless I went right ahead and made them, Now we’ll see it. The short rapid strides, pass and move, shaping the pace of play, charming the game as it falls under his spell.
This precious talent is overawed by the Premier League no longer. I still have a paternal eye on his frail frame but he’s big enough to look after himself. The TV experts often airily dismissed him last season solely due to his stature. One immutable law in Punditland is ‘small plus foreign equals inadequate’. But Luka was brought up in the battleground of the Croatian leagues where as a young man he was an easy target. He’s stronger than he looks and he problems, such as they were, were the usual requirements of a young man settling in a new country with a new team with a manager who did not buy him.
And let’s not forget Harry Redknapp, who has spotted the potential of this shining diamond (but not geezer) and is building the midfield around him. This is the sort of tactic that I referred to last week around the importance of Redknapp’s nouse in our campaign this season. Now just hold onto him in the window, for goodness sake. We love you Luka, I do….