‘Exhibition’ a real Spur for Sky Blues
SYDNEY FC defender Seb Ryall will face one of the biggest tests of his career at ANZ Stadium tonight - trying to stop Tottenham superstar Harry Kane.
The 21-year-old Kane - the second-highest scorer in last season's English Premier League with 21 goals - is one of the world game's hottest properties.
Speaking in Sydney in the lead-up to the match, Kane admitted reaching such dizzying heights so quickly in his career had been "a bit of a blur".
"It's not been a bad year. I don't think a lot of it's sunk in yet to be honest," he said.
"I'll probably be on holidays on a beach somewhere, and it will all sink in and hit me."
Kane, who took just 78 seconds to score on debut for England in a European qualifier against Lithuania in March, said he had been taken aback by the support for Spurs since arriving in Australia.
"Coming through the airport was amazing - God knows how many fans were there," he said. "Sometimes in England you don't realise how much support you have around the world."
Ryall is still only 25 himself, so you could forgive him for having some nerves before a game expected to draw more than 70,000 fans.
But he is experienced enough to cope with the grand occasion - he made his A-League debut for the Melbourne Victory back in 2007.
"It's going to be a tough game for us, but we welcome it and we're looking forward to it," he said.
"Football's a team game and we're very much aware of the talent in the Tottenham squad.
"We pride ourselves on our defence. It's going to be a tough game so we'll have to be at our best."
Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold - never one to back down from a challenge - has prepared his team for anything but an "exhibition" game.
"It's a wonderful opportunity for us to test our skills against an English Premier League team that came fifth this season," he said.
"I'm very excited by the occasion and we'll give it our best shot."
Arnold admitted he grew up idolising the Spurs - a club with a proud history that has won eight FA Cups, its first back in 1901.
"It's fantastic. As a young boy I grew up watching Tottenham play ... legends like Glenn Hoddle and Chris Waddle, to the top players they've got now in Harry Kane," he said.