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Corluka determined to play key role in a Spurs revival

PUBLISHED: 14:50 09 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010

By Pat Mooney VEDRAN Corluka has had a stop-start beginning to his career at the Lane. The Croatian defender was signed on transfer deadline day from Manchester City for £8.5 million and missed Tottenham s opening three games in the Premier League. The 22-year-old, wh

VEDRAN Corluka has had a stop-start beginning to his career at the Lane.

The Croatian defender was signed on transfer deadline day from Manchester City for £8.5 million and missed Tottenham's opening three games in the Premier League.

The 22-year-old, who made his debut against Aston Villa, is also ineligible for this season's Uefa Cup, having turned out for City in an earlier round, and to date has played just four times for Juande Ramos's struggling side.

"Of course is it frustrating to be cup-tied in the Uefa Cup but hopefully I will have the time to be fresh for the Premier League," Corluka told Ham&High Sport.

"But I'm glad City are playing in the Uefa Cup because of my last penalty for them. I'm sure my new team-mates will do well without me."

Although Corluka has the experience of playing a season with City - he played 46 times - he admits he is still settling into life in this country.

"Everything is still new to me [at Spurs] but I'm settling in," he said. "I'm enjoying playing with my new team-mates also and I'm sure it is only a matter of time before our quality starts to show."

But while Spurs have squeezed through to the group stages of the Uefa Cup and are in the fourth round of the Carling Cup, it is their dismal start in the Premier League that has piled the pressure on Ramos and the players.

Although the Lilywhites are still propping up the league following Sunday's home defeat against Hull City, Corluka feels the club is too good to stay in the basement.

"We are a good team, too good certainly for the last place in the Premier," he said.

"I think we just need that first win, then everything will be OK. But we need to recover soon or else it will be very hard for us. We need not only a win but then to win several games in a row."

Corluka is a battler - on and off the field. He survived the trauma of fleeing war-torn Bosnia in the former Yugoslavia with his parents and brother as a six-year-old, explaining: "We had to run away. When we fled, our home was burned down.

"It is not the worst that can happen to you, some lost their family. We moved to Zagreb and I am now glad to be here in London."

Corluka left City just as the billions arrived from the Middle East. But he has no regrets about leaving Eastlands. "As I said, I wish City all the best," he said. "They are a great club. But what has happened would not have made any difference. I wanted to come to Tottenham."

And one of the main reasons was to link up with his fellow Croatian international - and best friend - Luka Modric.

"It is good to play in the same team as my friend," he said. "I first met him when I was 14 in the Dinamo Zagreb youth team. He's my best friend and we've always been room-mates together on international duty."

Corluka has no doubts that Spurs fans will soon see the best of Modric. "Luka is so comfortable with the ball," he said. "He needs a bit of time to adapt to everything, not just the football, but to life too. He will make lots of goals and he will score goals. I am certain you will see."

Both Corluka and Modric are expected to be in action for Croatia in their World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Saturday, the defender saying he is still feeling the pain of losing 4-1 to England in their last qualifier.

"To be honest, it's a game that I want to forget about," he said. "Everyone at home is still talking about it and we are all so disappointed.

"But for me it was more difficult to accept losing to Turkey in the European Championship finals in June. Now at least we have a chance to recover, whereas that night in Switzerland our campaign was finished."

patmooney@hamhigh.co.uk

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