England and Aston Villa midfielder James Milner has dismissed as "nonsense" claims that Croatian players are being deliberately targeted in the Premier League.
Speaking earlier in the week and in the build-up to next Wednesday's England versus Croatia World Cup qualifier, Croatian FA president Vlatko Markovic suggested there were sinister reasons behind his country's players being injured in the Premier League.
Markovic suggested that the broken leg suffered by Tottenham's Luka Modric against Birmingham City last weekend and Arsenal striker Eduardo's horror injury against the same side 18 months ago proved his players were being deliberately targeted.
However, Milner has given the suggestion short shrift, saying: "Obviously it is nonsense.
"You don't look at who you are tackling or anything like that when you are on the field. You don't think 'oh it's him, I will go in hard'. You are just trying to win the ball.
"What has happened with Modric is unfortunate. He is a top player and Spurs will miss him massively.
"But you want to play in the best competitions in the world against the best players. It helps you if the best players aren't there but also you want to challenge them.
"That is what being a professional in any sport is all about."