Harry Kane is relishing the opportunity to come up against Giorgio Chiellini when Tottenham Hotspur face Juventus in the Champions League’s round of 16.
The prolific Spurs talisman heads into Tuesday’s first leg at Allianz Stadium in electric form, having netted eight goals in his last seven appearances across all competitions.
But he has his work cut out for him against Juve, who are yet to concede in seven matches this year, and the forward has vivid memories of his first meeting with Chiellini in a friendly in March 2015.
‘Chiellini is an amazing defender. Five minutes into my first start for England he made a very tough challenge. It was a nice welcome to international football!’ Kane told a pre-match news conference.
‘Juve are a fantastic team but I’m looking forward to the challenge. I always say that I want to test myself against the best defences in the world and this is certainly one of those.
‘Not many people expected us to get through from the group stage but we won the group instead, so we must be confident against Juventus.’
After Kane and Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino faced reporters, Chiellini was next up to tackle the media and he was effusive in his praise of the England man.
‘He’s an exceptional striker, his statistics of the last year demonstrate this,’ Chiellini said. ‘He’s a player that’s grown a lot, the most difficult thing is to keep improving.
‘He’s a player that’s very complete, scores, plays for the whole team, has the characteristics and skills that make him one of the strongest in the world. Tottenham are lucky to have a player like him, it’s not so common.
‘Actually stopping him one to one just me alone I think is pretty impossible, I’m not so presumptuous or arrogant, my goal is the whole of Juventus stops him.
‘It’s true one-to-one clashes are important, but the whole team will have to do its best to limit not only Harry Kane but other players that play with him. They have this fab four in attacking areas [Kane, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Christian Eriksen], we shouldn’t think of Tottenham as just Kane.’