LIVERPOOL, England- Everton must take the game to Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday to give themselves the best chance of keeping the dangerous Harry Kane quiet, says skipper Phil Jagielka.
The England striker has been in lethal form for the past four seasons, netting 35 goals in 38 games in 2016/17, bettering his tallies of 28 and 31 over the two previous campaigns.
Kane has struck 26 times so far this season and broke Alan Shearer’s Premier League record for goals in a calendar year with a hat-trick against Southampton to end 2017.
After seeing his Newport County side draw the top-flight heavyweights in the next round of the FA Cup on Monday, boss Michael Flynn spoke of the need for “a machine gun and a couple of axes” to stop Kane, but Jagielka has gone for a more straightforward approach – attack is the best form of defence.
“Harry has been fantastic over the past couple of years,” he said. “He has got better and better. He wants to test the goalkeeper as many times as he can in a game.
“It is difficult to keep him quiet for the entire 90 minutes, and when you have people like Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen around him, either creating chances or scoring goals as well, they are a massive threat.
“It is up to us to go there with a game plan, starve those attacking players of the ball, and maybe give Hugo Lloris a few things to deal with.”
Jagielka is no stranger to facing Kane. The Tottenham talisman has been a regular for the north Londoners since returning from Leicester City, the last of his four loan spells away from White Hart Lane, in 2013.
The Everton captain also has the experience of training alongside Kane with England since the 24-year-old made his international debut in a March 2015 win over Lithuania.
“You just know you have been in a game when you face him, it is as simple as that,” he added. “Harry puts himself about, but he does not look to pass when he gets in the final third. He wants to get those goals.
“He finds himself in the right place at the right time – it can’t be a coincidence the number of goals he scores. Even the tap-ins, he has to be there at the right time. We had Tim Cahill and he had that knack of finding himself in the right place at the right time for crosses. Harry has that in his game and he is a pretty decent finisher, too.”
Everton will not face Spurs at their usual White Hart Lane home but at Wembley, with the Lilywhites currently building a new ground in time for the 2018/19 season.
Jagielka has plenty of happy memories at the national stadium – and is hopeful of adding another on Saturday.
“England’s record, especially in qualifying, was pretty special at Wembley,” he said. “There have also been a couple of good days and a couple of not so good days in the cup for us. But it is always a special place to go.
“It is up to us to quieten the crowd down. Their fans are decent, but a bit away from the pitch. If we can make it a quiet atmosphere and put in a good performance then we can hopefully give Spurs a few problems and get a positive result.”