‘It means the world to me’: Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante named PFA Player of the Year

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Dele Alli scoops PFA Young Player of the Year award while, Manchester City's Lucy Bronze named women's player of the year and Birmingham City's Jess Carter best young woman player.

Chelsea midfielder N'Golo kante was named PFA Player of the Year at an awards ceremony in London on Sunday, April 23, 2017. PA
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LONDON // N’Golo Kante’s dynamic performances for double chasing Chelsea received the ultimate accolade from his peers on Sunday, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Player of the Year award.

The 26-year-old French midfielder saw off the likes of Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane and Everton’s marksman Romelu Lukaku for the prestigious award.

It may well not be the last piece of silverware he lifts this season as unlike his former teammates at Leicester City – for whom he was the driving force of a stunning title success last year – he stands on the brink of becoming the first player to win successive league titles with different clubs.

“To be chosen by the players to be player of the year means a lot to me,” Kante said.

“It means the world to be chosen and it’s been two beautiful seasons, one with Leicester, and we are in good form with Chelsea. To be player of the year, it’s a great honour.”

Kante, who also faces an FA Cup final date against Arsenal, said Chelsea manager Antonio Conte, like Leicester’s title-winning manager Claudio Ranieri an Italian, had instilled a winning mentality into the players.


Read more

■ Greg Lea: Arsenal move on to FA Cup final date with Chelsea

■ Report: Chelsea keep double hopes alive as Tottenham defence falters at Wembley

■ Podcast: Kante and Alli to walk away with awards


“He knows what he wants from the players,” Kante said.

“He wants to win, and we work very, very, very hard in training for him. He put a winning mentality into the squad, and everyone wants to give their best for the team, and to make Chelsea win titles.”

Kante, who had a modest playing career in France with Boulogne and then Caen, said the award will not go to his head as he acknowledges they face a tough battle to win either the league or the FA Cup – Spurs are just four points behind them in the title race and Arsenal will be desperate to rescue a poor season with a trophy.

“We’re going to fight for both competitions,” Kante said.

“The cup is just one game, and the league six games, and we’re going to give our best to win these two competitions.”

Kante’s performances this season has had former players eulogising about his ability especially after he totally overshadowed his compatriot and the world’s most expensive player Paul Pogba in the 1-0 win over Manchester United in March.

“I’d go as far to say that he’s the best central midfield player in the world on current form,” former England and Chelsea great Frank Lampard told the BBC of Kante.

“Looking at the way he’s performing this year, he may not be scoring lots of goals but what he’s giving to the team in the way he’s playing, the driving force that he is, I cannot see anyone else out there in world football better than him at the moment.”

Former Barcelona and England striker Gary Lineker said he had the potential to be the greatest midfielder of all time if he corrected one facet of his game.

“Bloody hell, if Kante starts scoring goals as well he’ll become the best midfield player ever,” tweeted Lineker

Tottenham, who would relish the title even more after being beaten 4-2 by Chelsea in their FA Cup semi-final on Saturday, did not go away empty-handed.

Their goalscoring English midfielder Dele Alli, whom many thought should have been a contender for the senior award, won the PFA Young Player of the Year award for the second successive year.

Other winners included Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze who was the women’s player of the year for a second occasion having won it in 2014. Birmingham City’s Jess Carter won the young player of the year award.

Former England captain Davd Beckham followed among another former Manchester United teammate Ryan Giggs in receiving the PFA’s Merit award for his contribution to the game.

N’Golo Kante in numbers

■ £32 million (Dh150m) – what it cost Chelsea to sign Kante from champions Leicester City – £3m less than Arsenal spent on Granit Xhaka, and roughly a third of Paul Pogba’s fee paid by Manchester United.

■ 23 – Premier League wins for Kante this season in 31 appearances, the same number he managed in 37 games for Leicester last term.

■ 110 – tackles made, ranking him second in the Premier League behind Idrissa Gueye.

■ 66 – percentage of successful tackles.

■ 72 – interceptions, joint seventh most in the league and highest of any Chelsea player.

■ 1,899 – passes completed, fifth highest in the league.

■ 2,779 – minutes played, third most of any Chelsea outfield player.

■ 8 – yellow cards, joint most of any Chelsea player with Diego Costa.

■ 0 – red cards.

■ 1 – league goal scored, past Manchester United, who he also netted against in the FA Cup.

■ 1 – he is close to becoming the first player to win back-to-back Premier League titles with different clubs.

* Agencies

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