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Gary Neville singles out the ‘big danger’ England must ‘snuff out’ in Croatia Euro 2020 clash

Gareth Southgate manager of England during an England training session at St George's Park on June 09, 2021 in Burton upon Trent, England.
Southgate has to monitor Modric, says Neville (Picture: Getty Images)

Gary Neville has warned England that Luka Modric remains a ‘big danger’ in their Euro 2020 opener against Croatia on Sunday.

Gareth Southgate’s men are looking to avenge a 2018 World Cup semi-final defeat to the Croats in the group stages of Euro 2020, with one of the two nations widely tipped to top Group D.

Real Madrid midfielder Modric, 35, remains key to his country’s hopes in the tournament and Neville, the former Manchester United right-back, thinks England have to ‘snuff out’ the threat he brings in the centre of the park.

And he stressed that England should not take their eye off the aging central midfielder, who will be composed in the biggest moments.

‘They’ve always had talented players, obviously beating England in a semi-final three years ago,’ Neville told Sky Sports. ‘There was disappointment but they were just better. As the game grew, as it travelled towards the end, their midfield got on top, started to switch the play and wear us down.

Luka Modric of Croatia during the international friendly match between Belgium and Croatia at King Baudouin Stadium on June 6, 2021 in Brussels, Belgium.
Modric will face England on Sunday (Picture: Isosport/MB Media/Getty)

‘Forget the 5m population, they’re a really good group of players, who desperately want to do well for their country.

‘With Modric, you’ve got a player who’s seen every game, every situation. He knows he’s composed at the right moment, and that’s a problem for England.

‘If that moment in the game comes, a draw with 10 minutes to go, he’s in and around the final third, he’s the one who will thread that pass, who will put that ball into the box. He will win that free-kick and take it. These players are game-changers, the ones you can’t stop.

‘I think it was in 1998 we played an ageing Georgi Hagi for Romania, and we ended up with a really disappointing result. When you have these great, great players, even just one in a team, they can make a massive difference to the group around them. They just thrive off them.

‘He’s adored, not only in his own country but around Europe. He’s a big danger to England, and one that needs snuffing out.’

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