Following on from fractionally missing out to Riyad Mahrez last season, Chelsea’s midfield dynamo N’Golo Kante has been named the PFA Player of the Year.
Awarded the coveted gong in the annual London ceremony, the former Leicester man headed a six-man list that comprised of Eden Hazard, winner of the award in 2014-15, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. All of which deserved their crack at the prize.
Speaking on the night, Kante said: “It’s a huge honour to be chosen by the other players. It’s really special to get this award. My first two seasons have been very beautiful. We have to finish well but so far it’s a very good season.”
The driving force for Leicester City and their fairytale Premier League triumph last season, Kante’s tireless defensive work for Chelsea has demanded the respect of fans and pundits alike. A staggering feat given the game’s obsession with individualist attack minded players.
Perhaps the greatest compliment paid to the Frenchman via various portions of the football media would be his comparison to Chelsea legend Claude Makelele. Whilst Kante would no doubt be honoured by such a comparison, fact is the France international’s ability to cover a far wider range of the pitch in half the time perhaps makes him an even better proposition altogether.
Perhaps summing up the players role in the high-flying Chelsea team best, would be Eden Hazard who paid the following tribute to his teammate on the night with the following;
“In my eyes N’Golo deserves to win the trophy. Not only for this season, but for the two terrific consecutive seasons he’s played. It doesn’t always have to the guy who scores a lot of goals, or gives the most assists. Ngolo is not decisive, but he’s decisive in another meaning, in another part of the pitch. I think it would be good for football that his type of player gets the chance to win a trophy.
Kante ultimately performs to such an effective level that it goes beyond such argument, and allows the whole team to function on a higher level altogether. As is the widespread feeling around the Chelsea dressing room, too, everyone just has to worry much less when Kante is in the team.
He is irrepressible and irreplaceable and now on the brink of winning his second league title in a row.
— PFA (@PFA) April 23, 2017
In other news on the night, Dele Alli picked up the PFA Young Player of the Year award, with Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze winning the women’s player of the year award for the second time. Jess Carter picking up the prize in the young player category.