Mason Mount cannot wait to pit his wits against Croatia playmaker Luka Modric again, just a month on from the England midfielder being left gobsmacked when one of his boyhood heroes asked for his shirt.
All eyes will be on Wembley this Sunday as Gareth Southgate’s men kick off Euro 2020 Group D against the side that broke English hearts in the World Cup semi-finals three years ago.
Modric ran the show as Croatia came back to secure that 2-1 extra-time win and the Three Lions will be looking to exact revenge under the arch, where Mount is hoping to get the better of the veteran once more.
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The Chelsea midfielder went toe-to-toe with the 35-year-old in the Champions League semi-finals and played a key role in the Blues knocking out Real Madrid before going on to win the final against Manchester City.
“He has always been a player that I have looked up to,” Mount said. “Ever since he has been in the Premier League with Tottenham, I have watched him quite closely.
“Playing against him, it was weird because I had watched him so much, I kind of knew his moves and what he was going to do.
“It helps being a fan of a player and then playing against him because you know what he likes to do.
“The experience of playing against him helps because you want to be in these big games and learn how to handle the pressure and big moments.
“Them two games were massive in our run and I gained a lot of experience from them two games.”
Mount did not only play against Modric but took home his shirt, with the 2018 Ballon d’Or winner then requesting his jersey at Stamford Bridge.
“I spoke to (Mateo) Kovacic before the first game and asked if I could get his shirt at a later date,” he said.
“I managed to do that and he asked for mine in the second game because I didn’t actually give him mine in the first.
“Kova said he likes to swap with players so he came up and said he wanted mine, just said good luck in the upcoming games.
“It was brilliant for me obviously to speak to him and he wants my shirt so I was quite overwhelmed, yeah.”
Asked what it felt like knowing Modric wanted his shirt, he smiled and said: “Special. I’ve got it at home along with a couple of others I’ve got over the last couple of months or so. It’s always good to keep those special shirts.”
Podcast: Foden and Grealish on the bench?! The big England XI debate
Jasper Taylor is joined by Rob Dorsett, Nick Wright and Gerard Brand for a definitive debate on the biggest England talking point ahead of their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday: who will start at Wembley?
In part one, Rob brings us all the latest insight from St George’s Park, while the panel run through the formation and defence
In part two (22:31), it’s all about the midfield and forward line. Is there a chance Rashford and Sterling start over Foden and Grealish? And should England look to play two defensive midfielders in the knockout stages?
And in part three (42:27), the SkySports.com readers’ XI is revealed, and both Nick and Gerard pick their surprise impact player from England’s squad.
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