KANE: MA­TURE SPURS RIPE TO LIFT TRO­PHIES

Rush tips Ram­sey for glory with Juve

Sunday Express - - PLAYING TODAY: TOTTENHAM V FOOTBALL - By John Richard­son

NUNO ESPIR­ITO SANTO has chal­lenged his Wolves side to stretch them­selves against a team he rates among the world’s best.

The Por­tuguese boss (right) is un­der no il­lu­sion about the size of the task fac­ing his side at Manch­ester City to­mor­row. He said: “Wait­ing in front of us is

BAY­ERN MU­NICH keeper Manuel Neuer says have Manch­ester City to beat shown his club how Liver­pool. The Ger­man face the Reds in cham­pi­ons of the Cham­pi­ons the last 16 watch­ing League, and after

Neuer City beat them 2-1 see said: “You could that Liver­pool are vul­ner­a­ble.” LIVER­POOL leg­end Ian Rush be­lieves Aaron Ram­sey can be­come a Cham­pi­ons League win­ner like fel­low Welsh­man Gareth Bale if he leaves Arse­nal for Ju­ven­tus this sum­mer.

Rush, who spent a sea­son with the Italian club, said: “Aaron’s agent rang me and I told him they couldn’t go wrong choos­ing to go to Italy.

“Ju­ven­tus have great sup­port and they one of the best teams in the world. They try to un­bal­ance you with the amount of qual­ity play­ers they have. “So if you want to be suc­cess­ful you have to be or­gan­ised, strong and in­tense in your ac­tions.

“We have to view this as a chance to go be­yond our lim­its.” will have a fan­tas­tic chance of win­ning the Cham­pi­ons League.

“I said it would be a great move for him. I know that Bay­ern Mu­nich and PSG also wanted him, which made Arse­nal’s decision to sell him even more strange.

“Aaron has seen Gareth Bale win the Cham­pi­ons League and he would love to do the same.”

HARRY KANE be­lieves Tot­ten­ham have crossed a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier in their quest for sil­ver­ware by mov­ing from a team with po­ten­tial to one that has reached “ma­tu­rity”. Spurs will be favourites to win this af­ter­noon’s Wem­b­ley clash with Manch­ester United, even though the visi­tors are resur­gent un­der in­terim man­ager Ole Gun­nar Sol­sk­jaer.

Tot­ten­ham can’t hide be­hind the tag of be­ing un­der­dogs any longer – and lis­ten­ing to Kane, it is clear they don’t want to.

“Over the last few years we have turned that around,” said the striker. “What we have done as a team with the man­ager and the staff is to change the per­cep­tion of Spurs dur­ing the last three or four years. We are at the stage now where we have a ma­ture team. We are not young any more and it’s im­por­tant we keep our­selves at this high level, at the top.

“The teams around us know it’s dif­fi­cult to play us and we have to use that to our ad­van­tage.

“When we are on good form we can dom­i­nate any team in Europe. We’ve done it in the Cham­pi­ons League and against the big teams in cer­tain games.

“We were al­ways go­ing into these games as the un­der­dog and now we are go­ing into them as favourites, es­pe­cially at home.”

It is a fas­ci­nat­ing per­spec­tive from Kane, who is one of three in­ter­na­tional cap­tains in the Spurs side from top-10 coun­tries in the FIFA world rank­ings, some­thing no other club in the world can boast.

Hugo Lloris and Chris­tian Erik­sen are the other two and Son He­ung-min is also skip­per of South Korea. This sta­bil­ity and lead­er­ship shows in the dis­plays of Tot­ten­ham this sea­son.

They were out­played for much of their League Cup semi-fi­nal first leg at home to Chelsea, yet emerged with a 1-0 vic­tory, more ev­i­dence for Kane’s op­ti­mism. “It was a re­ally ma­ture performance against Chelsea,” said the striker, us­ing that buzz­word again.

“For us it’s all about con­sis­tency. United are com­ing to this match after some great re­sults. They are go­ing to be con­fi­dent and have a lot of en­ergy.

“We have to bring the same en­ergy. That’s when we are at our best – when we’re press­ing and ev­ery­one is on the front foot.When we can match United’s in­ten­sity, keep the ball and make it hard for them, that’s when we can do dam­age.”

The in­evitable back­drop to today’s show­down is in­sis­tent spec­u­la­tion that Tot­ten­ham man­ager Mauri­cio Po­chet­tino is the num­ber one tar­get for United when they ap­point a long-term boss in the sum­mer.

What­ever hap­pens this af­ter­noon will not al­ter that. Per­haps only win­ning a tro­phy this sea­son will per­suade Po­chet­tino that the grass will be greener at the club’s new sta­dium, when it is even­tu­ally com­pleted.

He can be sure his play­ers want him to stay. Kane was ef­fu­sive in praise of his man­ager, say­ing: “We love the way he works and are fully be­hind him.

“He has a great per­son­al­ity. He treats you like a friend but he earns that re­spect from you. Most im­por­tantly, he is a great coach and we all want to play for him.

“We’ve built a great team over the last three or four years and it’s down to us to con­tinue that, take an­other step for­ward if we can and be con­sis­tent in these big games and big com­pe­ti­tions.

“We are still in all the com­pe­ti­tions. It’s about turn­ing that into a tro­phy.”

TOP DOGS: Tot­ten­ham’s un­der­dog days are over says Harry Kane RE­SPECT: Po­chet­tino

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