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Woodgate claims Kane vs Burn is meeting of Prem’s most in-form stars

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IT IS the clash of the titans at the Tottenham Hotspur  Stadium on Sunday

In the Spurs corner, goalscorer extraordinaire Harry Kane — who has found the net 12 times for club and country this year alone.

Harry Kane has bounced back after a slow start to the season, meaning Dan Burn faces his biggest test yet for Newcastle

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Harry Kane has bounced back after a slow start to the season, meaning Dan Burn faces his biggest test yet for NewcastleCredit: Richard Pelham – The Sun
Toon centre-back Dan Burn has been a towering presence since his January arrival

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Toon centre-back Dan Burn has been a towering presence since his January arrivalCredit: AFP

And up against him representing Newcastle is  erm . . . Dan Burn, the  29-year-old former Wigan and Brighton centre-half!

It sounds a mismatch on paper but according to Jonathan Woodgate —  who starred for both clubs — this is a scrap between two of the Premier League’s most in-form players.

Woodgate, 42, in the last Spurs side to win a major honour back in 2008, said: “Everyone knows just how good Kane is now.

He’s the best in the business. But Burn has been such a  revelation since joining Toon.

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Before his arrival, Newcastle probably had the worst defence in the Premier League and since his arrival, they are not far off having the best.

“They haven’t conceded more than one goal in any of the seven games that he has featured.

“Obviously, Newcastle’s improvement is not all down to him — but he’s played a huge part in it. And since leaving Brighton their form has dipped badly, too.

“Put those two facts together and it’s surely no coincidence.”

The Toon Army have already labelled 6ft 6in Burn “the Great Wall of Newcastle”.

Many rate him as the club’s finest centre-half since Woodgate himself joined Sir Bobby Robson’s side back in 2003 from Leeds.

It is  fair to say, however, that Burn’s £13million  arrival from the Seagulls in January earned little fanfare when compared to fellow recruits Kieran Trippier and Bruno Guimaraes.

Woodgate added: “I don’t think  the fans knew too much about him, other than the fact he was massive.

“And, to be quite honest, there was probably a bit of disappointment when Newcastle failed to land their top defensive targets.

“But he’s now won them around with his performances for the club.

“It obviously helps that he’s a   Geordie — but Dan is a real leader.  He may be the new boy but, from the outset, he has been organising, barking out orders and encouraging his team-mates.”

Dan has his work cut out, but you can never give up on England and if he continues playing as he is, there’s an outside chance.

Jonathan Woodgate

Newcastle fans are never slow in coming forward with their England nominees from within St James’ Park and many felt that Burn was unlucky to miss out on Gareth Southgate’s latest squad.

However, Woodgate feels he has an uphill task trying to force his way in before the Qatar World Cup.

Former Middlesbrough boss Woody, who is eyeing a return to management after his successful caretaker spell at Bournemouth, warned: “He’s 29 now and there are quite a few ahead of him in the queue.

“Harry Maguire and John Stones have never let their country down, Conor Coady, Tyrone Mings and Ben White have all done well.

And then you also have youngsters such as  Marc Guehi and Fikayo Tomori, who has been a revelation at AC Milan, coming through.

“So Dan has his work cut out, but you can never give up on England and if he continues playing as well as he is, there’s always that outside chance.

“I’m sure that Gareth Southgate will be monitoring him between now and the World Cup.”

Burn and Co face a big test tomorrow against a fifth-placed Spurs side    desperately trying to catch Arsenal in fourth. The Gunners are three points clear with a game in hand.

But Woodgate added: “If Dan  manages to keep an in-form  Kane quiet this weekend, that will certainly send out positive signals to Gareth.”



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