Harry Kane praises Lionel Messi goal-scoring feats ahead of Tottenham vs. Barcelona clash

1 / 2
Harry Kane has had a slow start to the season, but Spurs need him to find his scoring boots against the Spanish champions. (AFP)
2 / 2
Updated 02 October 2018

Harry Kane praises Lionel Messi goal-scoring feats ahead of Tottenham vs. Barcelona clash

  • Kane wants to copy Argentine ace as Spurs go in search of first Champions League victory this campaign.
  • Wembley hosts under pressure and with key men out as they prepare to face Barca.

LONDON: Harry Kane has set his sights on emulating the incredible goal-scoring feats of Lionel Messi as the Tottenham striker prepares for his shoot-out with the Barcelona legend.

Kane and Messi will be the leading men at Wembley on Wednesday when Tottenham host Barcelona in a crucial Champions League clash.

Messi has already scored eight times this season, including a hat-trick in Barca’s European demolition of PSV Eindhoven, taking his career tally for the club to well over 500 goals.

Kane has been prolific for Tottenham over the last four years, but he admits he needs to become even more ruthless with his finishing to approach the jaw-dropping statistics compiled by the Argentina forward.

“He set the standard, he and Cristiano Ronaldo have gone above the normal standard, when they are scoring 50 or 60 goals a season,” Kane said on Tuesday.

“As a striker I want to try and match that. He’s definitely set the standard for the rest of us and he still is.

“It motivates me to get even better and improve and hopefully one day score as many, if not more, than he has.

“It’s a great test for us. As players you want to play against the best in the world and Messi is certainly that, a fantastic player, and we will do our best to stop him.”

Tottenham lost their opening European game at Inter Milan, leaving the Premier League side with no margin for error as they try to qualify for the knockout stages.

If Mauricio Pochettino’s side are to make it to the last 16, a victory over Spanish champions Barcelona would be a major boost.

And to achieve that goal, they will need England captain Kane at his lethal best.

Kane, who finished as the World Cup’s top scorer earlier this year, is back in form, with three goals in his last two games after a lethargic start to the season.

Barca have wobbled domestically of late, with two draws and a defeat, to bottom side Leganes, in their last three matches.

Hoping to add to Barca’s problems, Kane says Tottenham will draw on the memories of last season’s stunning 3-1 Wembley win over Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages.

“We got off to a great start last season, beating Dortmund at home. It was not so great to lose to Inter this time around,” Kane said.

“We’ve got to prove we can beat the best teams in the world and we need to do that against Barcelona.

“Barcelona might play better than Real Madrid did last season. We need to produce that same energy, the crowd were amazing that night.

“If we can get them on their feet as soon as possible, create some chances and take one or two it would put us in a great position.

“We went through a stage where we didn’t win in three matches and maybe a bit of pressure starts to build.

“I’m sure Barcelona want to bounce back but it’s our chance to stop them and win four games in a row, which would be great momentum for us.”

Spurs will have to take on Barcelona without Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembele and Jan Vertonghen, who have joined Dele Alli on a growing casualty list.

“It is a period when we are not having good luck with injuries,” Pochettino said.

“We are not victims though. We must feel strong. Every player must feel they can win and achieve what we want.”


Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

Updated 17 November 2019

Southgate to bring Sterling back from England exile

  • World Cup semifinalists ‘still have room for improvement as they chase first major title since 1966’

PRISTINA:  Gareth Southgate is set to bring Raheem Sterling back from his brief England exile in Sunday’s qualifier against Kosovo as he seeks to end the controversy over the Manchester City star’s row with Joe Gomez.

Sterling was dropped for Thursday’s 7-0 rout of Montenegro after clashing with England team-mate Gomez in the Three Lions’ training base canteen.

It is believed Sterling was unhappy with Gomez following an altercation with the Liverpool defender during City’s Premier League defeat at Anfield last weekend.

Although Sterling was left out of the Montenegro game as punishment for his attack on Gomez, Southgate has confirmed the winger will return for England’s final Group A fixture.

Sterling and Gomez, left with a scratch under his eye after the incident, are said to have patched up their relationship, but the center-back was jeered by England fans at Wembley when he came on as a substitute against Montenegro.

Both Southgate and Sterling expressed their support for Gomez and criticized the booing supporters, with the England manager reportedly comforting the shocked 22-year-old and his family after the match.

Now Southgate could include Gomez against Kosovo in a show of support for the Liverpool player.

With England already guaranteed to qualify for Euro 2020 in first place in their group, Southgate already planned to make changes, although he is keen to ensure England finish with a win as they eye a top-six seeding in next year’s tournament.

“We will make some changes, for sure, but the seeding in the group could be critical and we know it’s a big night for the Kosovans,” Southgate said.

“It’s a shame for them that they’re now out of this part of the qualification, although they’ve still got the playoffs in which I think they’ll be a huge threat in that format. “So, it will be a good test for us because it will still be a lively environment.

“The enthusiasm for the game is high and we want to finish the group with as many points as we can.”

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson could return following a one-match ban, while Southgate has to decide whether to keep faith with Ben Chilwell ahead of Danny Rose at left-back.

Harry Kane may have scored a hat-trick against Montenegro but it was Leicester’s Chilwell who was named England’s man of the match following a fine display in which he provided three assists in the opening 24 minutes.

“Ben, I liked the hunger in his game, the enthusiasm to get forward,” Southgate said.

“The whole team pressed well but he also pressed well from that full-back position, got into overlaps, his quality of delivery was excellent.”

Although England have cruised through their qualifying group, Southgate believes the 2018 World Cup semifinalists still have room for improvement as they chase a first major title since 1966.

“There were a couple of chances we conceded that just shouldn’t happen, so that’s still part of our game that we’ve got to improve upon,” he said.

“If we are to be a team that are going to challenge seriously, although we’re young, we’ve got to manage games well.

“We’ve got to make sure that, although we’re such a fantastic attacking threat, the rest of the team is right as well. There are things we’ve got to be better at.”