Moscow, June 27 (IANS) Belgium central defender Toby Alderweireld knows more about the threat posed by England striker Harry Kane than virtually anyone else in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Alderweireld and his partner in central defence Jan Vertonghen share a dressing room at Tottenham Hotspur with the man who currently leads the race for the Golden Boot in this summer’s tournament, reports Xinhua news agency.
Two goals against Tunisia followed by three in the 6-1 thrashing of Panama means Kane is the first England striker to score five goals in two World Cup matches since 1986 when Gary Lineker scored a hat-trick against Poland in the group stage and followed it up with a brace of goals against Paraguay in the last 16.
“He is in a very good moment and has been all season. He’s a fantastic player,” the Belgian defender said to the press on Wednesday.
Alderweireld highlighted the freshness in the England side which doesn’t seem to be suffering from the big-tournament nerves which has affected them recently in other major competitions.
“I know England a bit and I think there is a good group, they are young players who are proud to play for England and you can see that on the pitch. They have an idea of how they want to play and they have a good manager,” Alderweireld said.
England have been the most effective side in Russia from set pieces, netting six of their eight goals from dead-ball situations with three goals coming after a corner kick, two from the penalty spot and one following a free kick.
“We know that (set pieces are) vital for them, so we have to do well and defend because it is a real strength for them,” he said.