Harry Kane believes cracking the Champions League this season will prove he is a world-class striker.
The Tottenham talisman leads the line for Mauricio Pochettino’s side when they face Borussia Dortmund at Wembley
Kane has already established himself as Tottenham and England’s first-choice centre forward, and the 24-year-old has spoken openly about his desire to be seen as one of the best players in the world, in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
‘I want to break into that world-class bracket. To do that you have to play well in the Champions League,’ said Kane. ‘The Champions League is a big stage. All the best players in Europe, if not the world, are here.
‘And to be the best you have to produce your best against the best. I have six group games to prove that by hopefully scoring as many goals as possible and performing well.
‘I have scored two goals in three games in the Champions League, so hopefully I can continue scoring and just trying to do my best.’
The onus will fall heavily on Kane as Dele Alli serves the first match of a three-game European suspension.
Alli was sent off for a reckless tackle on Brecht Dejaegere in a 2-2 draw with Gent at Wembley last season, which saw Spurs knocked out of the Europa League in the round of 32.
Spurs found themselves in Europe’s secondary competition last year after finishing third in their Champions League group, with two defeats out of three ‘home’ games at Wembley.
Their poor form at Wembley has continued this season, with a defeat and a draw from Tottenham’s first two League games at their temporary home.
Victory on Wednesday would be the perfect way for Spurs to banish their Wembley hoodoo.
Burnley D: 1-1 (2017-18)
Chelsea L: 2-1 (2017-18)
Chelsea L: 4-2 (2016-17)
Portsmouth L: 2-0 AET (2009-10)
Chelsea L: 2-0 (2014-15)
Manchester United L: 0-0 (4-1 pens) (2008-09)
Chelsea W: 2-1 AET (2007-08)
Chelsea L: 5-1 (2011-12)
Monaco L: 2-1 (2016-17)
Bayer Leverkusen D: 0-0 (2016-17)
Bayer Leverkusen L: 1-0 (2016-17)
CSKA Moscow W: 3-1 (2016-17)
‘I laugh a little bit because maybe it exists, the hoodoo, no?,’ said manager Pochettino.
‘I remember three years ago when I started, it was difficult to get a positive result at White Hart Lane.
‘Wembley is similar. We need to adapt our game, we need to feel that Wembley can be home. The last few games at Wembley, we played really well and we deserved more in terms of results.
‘But sometimes in football it’s not only about playing better than your opponent, and maybe we needed to be a little bit more clinical in front of the goal.’
Tottenham’s path to the knockout stages looks no easier this season, with holders Real Madrid, Dortmund and Cypriot side APOEL in Group H. But Pochettino feels his side will benefit from last year’s campaign.
‘That was our first experience of the Champions League,’ he said. ‘Previously we played Europa League, for 98, 99 per cent of the players, and for myself too.
‘That experience (of last season) is important. We know very well what the competition demands from you, and that is so important. It was a very painful experience because we were not at the level we should have been at, but today it’s not an excuse.
‘We know Dortmund will be very tough. We need to be ready to compete at a higher level.’
Premier League sides have struggled in the Champions League in recent seasons, and Pochettino believes it is a cultural problem.
‘Managers like Pep Guardiola are now starting to realise how tough the Premier League is, how difficult it is to arrive fresh to compete in the Europa League or Champions League,’ said the Argentine.
‘The other leagues in Europe are completely different and only when you are here do you realise how tough it is to keep the same level in Premier League and European competition.
‘The Premier League is the principle competition for every single player who plays in the Premier League. It’s a massive competition.
‘The feeling in Italy, Spain and France is the Champions League is the most important. They prioritise the Champions League over the domestic leagues.’