Toby Alderweireld got the better of Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane when the pair crossed paths in Saint Petersburg but believes the striker’s starring role at the World Cup is “just the beginning”.
Kane’s six goals leave him primed to bring the Golden Boot back to north London, with French pair Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe needing a hat-trick against Croatia in the final just to draw level.
But the England captain was shut out for the third game in a row as Belgium sealed a 2-0 win in the third-place play-off.
Spurs defender Alderweireld had nothing but good things to say for his club colleague though.
“I think Harry is one of the best strikers in the world, of course he is,” he told Press Association Sport.
“He’s an all-round player. He’s not just scoring goals, he’s helping the team play better. The only thing he didn’t do is score against Belgium so that’s a positive for us!
“But he is a wonderful player and still very young as well, people forget that.
“He has the desire to be one of the best, maybe the best, and this is just the beginning I think.”
Alderweireld also claimed bragging rights over Spurs midfielder Eric Dier, sliding to clear his goalbound chip off the line with the match delicately poised at 1-0.
It was England’s best move of the night, with Dier desperately close to providing a memorable finish.
“I spoke to him after, I said ‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry’,” said Alderweireld.
“It was very good play from him, he did everything perfectly but unfortunately for him I was in the right place.”
Tottenham had a total of nine players involved in the last four of the tournament – testament to the calibre of the side compiled by Mauricio Pochettino.
They are still yet to cap their development with silverware but Alderweireld said: “It is something for the club and the fans to be proud of, you can see that for the past few seasons.
“Of course everybody will say you didn’t win anything yet but our level every season is top four and we are extremely consistent. You can see at this World Cup. The players are at a good level and being decisive players for their countries.
“Spurs are going the right way.”
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