Dele Alli remembers earning a rebuke from Luka Modric after nutmegging the Croatia star.
The England attacker is preparing for another meeting with Modric in the World Cup semi-final on Wednesday.
Alli has been reminiscing over his journey to Russia, which started in League One with MK Dons. As a young player, he recalled a grounding experience at Valley Parade against Bradford and being snubbed by Danny Welbeck after asking the then-Man Utd striker for his shirt.
Come Wednesday it could be Croatia star Modric that Alli will want to swap jerseys with.
The pair will both be key in the battle for midfield supremacy and have previous with each other – including Tottenham’s Champions League win over Real Madrid last November.
Alli had yet to play a competitive game for Spurs when he nutmegged Modric in a 2015 pre-season friendly – earning a cheerful rebuke from his more established opponent.
“I remember it… he said something,” Alli recalled with a smile.
“I always enjoy a good nutmeg. I didn’t shout ‘megs’. I have never done that, even in training. Some people when they nutmeg (someone), they call it, but it’s never been something I’ve done.”
Asked if a repeat performance was on the cards, he said: “Nutmeg him? Hopefully! But I’m not going to focus on that.”
Not all of Alli’s memorable moments are good ones, with the nadir being England’s Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.
Thinking back to a time when a World Cup final must have seemed an implausible prospect, Alli said: “Straight after that game you want the floor to eat you up.
“You want to hide and not come out of your room. You want to forget about it and lock yourself away. When Gareth came in it was the first time we relived it. You don’t want to watch it back but we know how important it was, going into the World Cup, that we had to go back through it to come out stronger.”