Although this was not a game for the creative talents – witness Wayne Rooney's perspiration, rather than inspiration – Modric consistently demanded the ball. The intelligence of his darting runs and the smoothness of his technique were so easy on the eye and he did not need Wilson Palacios, all heavy touches and misplaced passes alongside him, to look good.
The Croat can make opponents seem foolish with a drop of his shoulder. Darren Fletcher might attest to that after Modric left him trailing along the byline following a short corner routine, yet he is no mere jinking trickster. Despite his small frame he has plenty of strength and is not easily knocked off the ball. His intuitive grasp of the angles of a game and where to position his body ensures he rarely loses possession.