Sunday 17 December 2017

Sturridge is a better striker than Kane, insists Rodgers

Harry Kane has scored 22 goals in all competitions for Tottenham so far this season, but Daniel Sturridge's figures for the same number of games last year looks favourable. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble
Harry Kane has scored 22 goals in all competitions for Tottenham so far this season, but Daniel Sturridge's figures for the same number of games last year looks favourable. Photo: REUTERS/Phil Noble

Chris Bascombe

The Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says that Daniel Sturridge remains England's top striker, despite admitting his admiration for the rise of Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Kane.

Liverpool face the in-form Kane at Anfield tonight. Alex Inglethorpe, the Merseyside club's Academy director, is a former youth and reserve coach at White Hart Lane and is well aware of Kane's talents but Rodgers said that Sturridge still set the standard for England goalscorers.

"For me there's not anyone better than Daniel Sturridge," said Rodgers, who may give Sturridge his first start for five months.

"He's got everything in his game if he's playing consistently. His goalscoring record, his pace, his power, he's got everything. But I'm sure Daniel will look at it that there's another young English striker coming through and that will really help him when they come together at international level.

"If Harry Kane's going to be of the level to go on and play for England, which I believe he is, then that helps Daniel and the other Liverpool players who play for England because it means you get another top quality striker. Alex Inglethorpe has worked with all those boys at Spurs so he knows them very, very well professionally and personally.

"But Harry Kane was a Tottenham player and always wanted to play for Tottenham.

"I am just glad he has come in and been given the opportunity and he has shown by being given that the qualities he has."

John W Henry, Liverpool's principal owner, and Tom Werner, the club's chairman, will be in attendance for a key fixture in the race for Champions League places.

Lucas Leiva will be missing for the next month, but Raheem Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana are all expected to be available.

It is a match that will showcase young English talent, with Kane the centre of attention. The 21-year-old has taken on a senior role in his dressing room, delivering team-talks during Spurs' impressive run of one defeat in 10 Premier League games.

The Spurs goalkeeper and vice-captain Hugo Lloris invited Kane to address the team in the on-pitch huddle ahead of kick-off recently and the striker is said to have quickly grown into a vocal member of head coach Mauricio Pochettino's squad.

It would not be a major surprise to see the new hero of White Hart Lane given the captain's armband sometime in the future.

His superb form on the pitch, which has yielded 22 goals in all competitions this season, has even been noted by Real Madrid scouts who have attended Spurs games.

There is little chance of Kane following Luka Modric and Gareth Bale to the Bernabeu any time soon, but any significant increase in the Spanish club's interest may well earn the Walthamstow-born player yet another new contract at White Hart Lane.

Kane was rewarded for his fine form with a five-and-a-half-year deal last week, having already signed a new contract in the summer.

However, as proven with Bale, the Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is willing to regularly offer his star players new terms to keep them at the club.

Pochettino and Tottenham insiders are impressed by the way Kane has handled his elevation to stardom, a new contract, calls for England recognition and interest in his private life and background.

Rather than dwell too long on the two goals he scored to secure victory against Arsenal at the weekend, Kane was excitedly talking to friends about the opportunity to play at Anfield tomorrow night and the challenge Liverpool will pose.

Barring injury, the Tottenham striker is virtually certain to be called up to the full England squad for the March fixtures against Lithuania and Italy, but he is not seen as the type of character to turn his back on the U-21s, who are due to take part in this summer's European Championship from June 17 to 30. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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