Jermaine Jenas has admitted that he was taken aback by the things Luka Modric would sometimes do in training at Tottenham.

Modric was a highly-rated young talent when he arrived at Spurs from Dinamo Zagreb in the summer of 2008 but the Croat quickly evolved into one of the best midfielders in the Premier League over the next few years.

His performances in the middle of the park were key to the Lilywhites qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their history in 2010 and subsequently making it to the quarter-finals of the competition during 2010-11.

The midfielder swapped Tottenham for Real Madrid in the summer of 2012 and he has since gone on to become one of the greatest players in Los Blacos’ history.

Jenas raved about Modric’s footballing intelligence and admitted that the 37-year-old saw patterns on the pitch that no one else did.

When asked to name the most technically gifted player he played alongside, the pundit told William Hill: “Modric. Luka is incredible.

“He was the first one who made me realise that they get coached differently abroad. We get coached in England almost like in boxes – that’s how I would describe it. Everything is very straight and everything is very square.

“When I think of Luka on a football pitch, I think of the Matrix, where you see those numbers and lines all over the place. That’s like what Luka sees on the pitch. He was going into certain areas to receive that ball that I was not taught to go into.

“I was always taught to get side-on, middle of the pitch, you can see either side. If you receive it, you can put it in the channel. It was always boxes, whereas Luka would do madness. He would like to go to right-back and tell his right-back to push on.

“As a midfielder, I cannot get near him, and from right-back, he’s at you, one-two, step-over, he’s on the edge of your box all of a sudden, and he would do this all the time.

“In training, he was the same. He was just elite-level kind of thinker as well as the player he was. He’s now 60 (years of age) or something and he’s still balling.”

Spurs Web Opinion

Modric was an absolute delight to watch at Spurs but looking back, it is almost criminal that he spent the first year and half at Tottenham playing off the left, rather than through the middle.

It took an injury to Wilson Palacios for Redknapp to decide to partner the Croat with Tom Huddlestone in midfield during the latter part of the 2009-10 season, and Modric never looked back.

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