Harry Kane and Jordan Archer's paths cross again as Tottenham face Millwall

Jordan Archer is not so different to Harry Kane. The 23-year-olds were born in Walthamstow within four months of each other, they both pursued football at local club Tottenham and both came of age in loan spells south of the river at Millwall.

Kane returned from his "a man", eventually forcing his way ahead of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldado, forwards out-of-form and out-of-favour, to become the Premier League's best striker.

Goalkeeper Archer, though, found himself behind the excellent Hugo Lloris and he was never given a proper chance at Spurs before joining Millwall permanently in summer 2015. Once Kane's equal, the Lions goalkeeper returns to Tottenham for the first time for Sunday's FA Cup quarterfinal as the underdog, the latest man tasked with stopping a goal-machine.

"I don't believe in luck. I think you make your own luck," Archer tells ESPN FC, reflecting on Kane's remarkable rise. "When his opportunity came, he took it. If he hadn't been working hard, he wouldn't have been ready.

"He has always worked hard. Every day he was out after training, doing extra drills on his finishing. You could always see he was putting in the extra work, the extra hours and now it's paying off for him. I don't believe that's luck. He deserves everything he has got right now."

Although their pasts are similar, the present is different. The Premier League top scorer spent the week being compared to the game's great scorers past and present, while Archer was working hard at Millwall's Bromley training ground; a series of single-story buildings and portacabins, a million miles from Tottenham's gleaming and secluded training base in the Hertfordshire countryside. He is fighting to be fit for Sunday.

Much of Kane's success has been put down to Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino but Archer, who only spent a preseason under the Argentine before being sent on loan, believes his former teammate is reaping the rewards of the work ethic demanded by Tottenham's academy head John McDermott.

"To play at the top, you have to be driven. You can't be distracted by other things. It is all about hard work and mentality. Harry always put football ahead of almost everything else. He is a top, top professional and that is the way you have to be," Archer says.

"John McDermott installed that mentality into us at a very young age. Some players keep it, some players don't. The players that do keep that attitude, that work ethic, are the ones bearing fruit.

"I've got nothing but respect for John McDermott. "He is a strong character but he knows how to get the best out of players. He passes on his knowledge and he leaves it up to you to do the rest. There's a huge list of players that have played under him and turned out for first teams. What he is doing is working."

McDermott ranks second in the list of the most influential coaches in Archer's career behind Perry Suckling, Tottenham's former academy goalkeeping coach, now academy manager at Queens Park Rangers, who is the reason the 23-year-old is a footballer today.

"I was a raw young teen coming from Sunday league but Perry stuck by me. Without him helping me through my time at Spurs, I don't know where I would be now," he says.

"His one-on-one stuff off the field helped massively. Being a teenager, you could go both ways: follow the right path or fall by the wayside with your friends, fall into other stuff. He made sure I stayed on the straight path.

"A lot of my friends, no disrespect, are working nine to five jobs but from my earliest years I always said I wanted to be a professional footballer. I put in hard work, I put in all the hours. It's hard. My friends would be out, going to clubs and stuff, and I'd be staying in. You may see it as a boring lifestyle but that's what it takes to get to the top of the game.

"Of course it's tough -- the sacrifices. People always criticise the rewards footballers get but that doesn't come off the back of us sitting on our backsides. We put in a lot of hard work, a lot of graft that goes unseen by the public. Top footballers make a lot of sacrifices but they do pay off."

Archer is not a Spurs fan -- "I'm not going to say who I support because I'll get in trouble," he laughs -- but he still feels attached to the club where he spent six years from the age of 15.

"I've got a lot of love for the club, a big emotional attachment. I've got nothing but gratitude for Spurs. I've still got a lot of friends there so I want them to do well. Come Sunday, it'll be good to bump into them but it's not going to be all high-fives and hellos. We're going there for the win and I'll save my talking for after the game."

Among those friends are Kane, Dele Alli and Kyle Walker but particularly Lloris, who mentored him as a young goalkeeper but was ultimately the reason for his departure from the club -- "a mutual decision" not to renew his contract.

"I bumped into Hugo [this week] and he was all smiles. We both had a big grin on our faces. It's been a couple of years since I've seen him and I asked how he's been, and likewise. He asked if I was fit and I told him yes! So I'm looking forward to bumping into him again on Sunday," he says.

"To train with someone like that, the France captain, you learn a lot.

"Someone in his position could easily be arrogant and not care about the young goalkeepers. He couldn't be further from that. He's the opposite. He cares and he always had time for the young goalkeepers in training. If he saw something, he'd point it out. He's fantastic.

"There aren't many goalkeepers in the world who are going to dislodge the France captain... I was under no illusions that I was going to get first team games. I had to drop down a few leagues and try to make a name for myself.

"As a 15-year-old, my dream was to walk out at White Hart Lane in a Spurs shirt. That didn't materialise and I'm proud to do the same thing in a Millwall shirt."

Archer is a big doubt for Sunday's game -- he has not played since the last-round win against Leicester after suffering a thigh tear -- and if he does not play, he will be a big miss. He was the Lions' Player of the Year last season and he has kept clean sheets in all three of the FA Cup victories against Watford, Bournemouth and Leicester. The victories have given him a taste of facing Premier League opposition and he wants more.

"I want to play at the very top and my main goal is to get back into the Premier League. I'm still young, I've still got experience to gain so I'm taking it day-by-day," he says.

"You see the quality of the Premier League players. They're a lot stronger, a lot fitter, a lot faster, a lot better technically. But we've got some gifted players in our league who could play in a higher league and it shows in the scalps we've already taken. We haven't looked out of our depth and we've got great quality in the squad here."

Stopping Kane from scoring again and helping Millwall to an 18th consecutive game unbeaten will go a long way to helping Archer achieve that ambition but for all his admiration for Kane, he is not intimidated.

"I saw from a young age -- he's always been a great finisher. We're strong defensively, we trust our shape and I'm sure the boys will do a good job of containing him," he says.

"I've never focussed on stopping any striker. I'm confident in my own ability and, if I'm playing as well as I can, I don't care who I'm playing against."