Brentford centre-back Nathan Collins has named Harry Kane as his “toughest opponent” over the other world class forwards he’s faced, including Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.
Collins has been transferred for over £50million in his moves to Burnley, Wolves and Brentford, the last of whom he joined for a club record £23million last summer.
In an exclusive interview with Football365 at an EA SPORTS event to celebrate the early access launch of FC 24, Collins has explained why he ranks Kane over the other brilliant marksmen he’s come up against.
“Every week you come up against real quality in the Premier League, but I would probably just pick Kane as my toughest opponent,” said Collins.
“I’ve been up against Kylian Mbappe for Ireland, Erling Haaland, (Kevin) De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah and Harry Kane in the Premier League and all these top players have fantastic qualities.
“What is the best? It’s a tough one. For me, Kane is right up there as the best. You can do so well against him for most of the game and then he just takes advantage of one minor lapse and it’s a goal.
“He creates something out of nothing, scores the goal and you come off the pitch wondering how it happened.
“That’s how I felt after the game at Tottenham last season. It felt like I had played well and he just killed me in a few seconds and got the goal. That’s the mark of a great player. He really is one of the best in the world, no question about it.”
Collins is now an established Premier League performer for club and country at the heart of the defence, but he revealed his initial dreams were very different.
He was a big fan of Steven Gerrard in his youth and started his career as a midfielder, which may explain why he is so composed on the ball now.
“I used to like Gerrard a lot,” he confirmed. “I wasn’t really a Liverpool fan, but I like the way he ran things in midfield, his long shots. It felt like a little bit of what I wanted to be.
“The way the game is now, everyone needs to be comfortable on the ball. The game is progressing at such a rapid pace and if you are not reaching those standards, you can’t make it in the game now.
“I see the standards in training every day at the clubs I have been at and it’s one of the hardest leagues in the world. If you have an off day, you will be found out and that’s the harsh reality of working at this level of the game.
“I love what I do. My dream when I started was to be the best player in the world. Then you realise that might not happen and you set a goal of playing at the best level possible.
“In my mind, there was never any doubt this was going to happen from a young age, so when I am on the pitch now and I’m marking Harry Kane or Mohamed Salah, it doesn’t feel weird to me at all. This is what I always thought I would do. I feel like I belong here.
“That might sound strange, but it was what I always wanted to do and it always felt possible for me, even if the odds of getting to where I am now are massive.”