The blues attacking midfielder has grown up watching the Croatian superstar play and will now meet him for the third time this season
Mason Mount meets Luka Modric once again in England’s inaugural Euro 2020 match against Croatia, and the Chelsea midfielder is looking forward to taking on one of his biggest idols.
Being small in stature as a youngster in Chelsea’s academy, Mount looked up to people like Modric and former Barcelona legend Andres Iniesta while taking his own path to the top of world football.
Now he was an established player at Chelsea and Mount was the key to his side’s victory over Real Madrid over two legs in the Champions League as the Blues continued to win the competition against Manchester City in the final, but as well as his medal, Modric’s shirt also served as an important momento earned from the race in Europe.
What did he say?
“I feel at home with a few others. It’s always good to keep these special jerseys,” Mount told reporters from St. Louis. George’s Park.
“I talked to Kovacic before the first game and asked if I could get his jersey at a later date. I succeeded and he asked for mine in the second game because I did not 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, of course, to talk to him, and he wants my sweater so I was pretty overwhelmed.
“He has always been a player that I have looked up to. Ever since he has been in the Premier League with Tottenham, I have seen him quite closely. Playing against him was strange because I had seen him so much, of knew his moves and what he would do.
“It helps to be a fan of a player and then play against him because you know what he likes to do. The experience of playing against him helps because you want to be in these great games and learn to deal with the pressure and the big moments.
“The two games [against Real Madrid] was massive in our race and I gained a lot of experience from the two games. “
How will England use Mount?
Gareth Southgate is likely to lean heavily on the 22-year-old midfielder throughout this upcoming tournament after playing him in almost every game over the last 12 months.
Mount has played in central midfield and as a striker for England and he is likely to adapt his roles to the various opponents facing the three Lions.
In fact, he is comfortable playing in various roles as he has come through Chelsea’s academy, which likes to produce versatile footballers.
“I think if you look at the amount of talent going forward we have in the group, that speaks for itself,” he added. “We have players who can handle the ball, keep the ball and play football in possession, create chances and be a threat going forward.
“It’s something we’re always trying to work on to perfect, of course. It’s never 100 percent perfection, you know in a game there will be times when things don’t click at times, but with the players we have and what we have been working on in training, I have full hope that it will work.
“We have to play together and it’s going to connect when the game comes around, so that’s what we’re focused on, and hopefully that’s going to happen.”
He went on to say that his side can win glory this summer.
“We have never won a euro before, so for us we are a team that is very hungry to want to do it,” he concluded.
“We want to create history that no one has ever done before, and I feel like with this group, with this young group, we can do it, and we know what we can do.”