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Bilic lauds ´world class´ Modric

Croatia coach Slaven Bilic rates midfielder Luka Modric as a ‘world class’ player who would fit into any team in the world.

The Tottenham midfielder has attracted plenty of interest with some eye-catching performances, and as the subject of a 40-million-pound bid from Chelsea last season.

And Bilic believes the 26-year-old would be worth the money.

“He’s not a Croatian product,” Bilic told The Daily Telegraph. “Everyone in Spain knows him, everyone in Italy knows him, and he would easily fit into their teams. He’s not just known in Croatia or in England.

“He has made of himself a world status. He’s world-class.

“It’s not only because of last year’s story about Chelsea wanting him. It’s not been about just one season. He’s constantly been playing at a high level and is getting better week-in, week-out.”

Modric is set to be part of the Tottenham squad readying themselves for Sunday’s London derby FA Cup semi-final against Chelsea at Wembley.

The 26-year-old was keen on quitting White Hart Lane for a bigger and better challenge despite chairman Daniel Levy’s firm hands-off warnings – so keen that he regularly confided in his national boss when he had no-one else to turn to.

“Some players would have shrunk or sulked and said ‘why isn’t this happening for me?’ But last year we were talking and I told him, ‘Luka, it’s only up to you. You are only 25, 26 and you are already at a big club and you will have to stay, they won’t let you go’,” Bilic said.

“So it depends on you to play well and in a few months time other clubs will come again for you.

“In his situation you have two options: either sulk and ask why it’s not happening. Or to play well and they will come again and, possibly, even bigger clubs.”

Bilic said the character shown by the midfielder to return to his best form will aid his efforts should he seek a new employer at the end of the season, but noted that Modric is clearly happy to play at White Hart Lane.

“He’s done great and the main thing is he’s happy,” Bilic said.

“It’s not like he’s said to himself ‘I will do just one more year’. He’s smiling and enjoying it and everyone has recognised that and clubs are impressed by that.

“He likes Redknapp. Not only him. He likes Spurs. But, at the end of the day, Luka knows that he’s not playing well just because of Harry.

“He is playing well for the national team also but, of course, Harry has helped him a lot and has given him confidence. He’s a great manager.”

Sat 14 April, 2012
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