Friday, March 24, 2017

N’Golo Kante’s rise to stardom has been incredible

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 10 Feb 2017

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French midfielder N’Golo Kante has enjoyed an incredible few years

In the summer of 2015 Leicester signed a little-known French central midfielder called N’Golo Kante from Nice for a smallish fee by Premier League standards.

I dare to say that the majority of Premier League fans will not have known much if anything about the Frenchman

The diminutive and energetic midfielder was hardly a glamour signing. However, what he helped Leicester achieve last season was nothing short of a football miracle.

He was the catalyst, as he dominated the centre of midfield in many games and covered every inch of turf during matches.

It would now be hard to find any football fan who is not familiar with the little French international midfielder, such has been his success in the English top-flight.

Leicester have slumped without Kante

Leicester’s slump this season since losing the French international to Chelsea in the summer has been almost as dramatic as their title challenge last season. The Foxes are currently 16th in the table and only a point above the relegation zone.

There must be more to the Foxes slump than just missing Kante. However, such was the midfielder’s influence on the team that his absence has to be considered as a major factor in the Foxes struggles this season.

Kante’s former central midfield partner Danny Drinkwater suddenly does not look as good as he did last season. Maybe it is because Kante showed such energy and was so reliable that he could concentrate on his own game.

The Foxes former director of football Steve Walsh got it right with the quip about Kante saying: “No matter who we’re playing we play three in midfield, we play Danny Drinkwater in the middle as a holding player and we play Kante either side!”

That joke is now famously connected to Walsh and Kante. However, it has a touch of truth to it, as the Frenchman just seems to have the knack of being able to cover extraordinary distances and amount of ground.

From unknown to a world star

It was the aforementioned Steve Walsh who spotted Kante playing for Nice and told the Foxes signed him. Kante has to go down as one of the best signings in recent Premier League history.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger claimed he knew all about Kante, but then again the veteran Frenchman says that about every player that becomes a success. Despite the fact of knowing all about the 25-year-old, Wenger let him join rivals Chelsea in the summer.

His exploits in the Leicester midfield last season brought him to prominence. His form even earned the midfielder a place in the France starting line-up for Euro 2016, where Les Bleus were beaten in the final of extra-time by Portugal.

Less than two years after arriving on British shores, N’Golo Kante is now regarded as one of the best players in the world in his position. There are few players that can play his position the way the former Leicester star does.

Kante is probably good enough to get into any of Europe’s best teams. He definitely did not look out of place for France at the Euros.

Much has been made of England striker Jamie Vardy’s rise from non-league football to winning the English top-flight title. Kante’s story is not as dramatic, but his rise to prominence has certainly been a quick one.

Set to win the title at Chelsea

With Kante’s current team nine points clear at the top of the table. The Blues are overwhelming favourites at odds of 1/8 to win the Premier League title this season. Kante could become the first outfield player ever to win back-to-back Premier League titles with different clubs.

The only other player to have won back-to-back titles with different clubs was veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer, ironically winning his titles with Chelsea and Leicester as well.

It would be an amazing achievement for little French midfielder. I have no doubt that it is no coincidence that both teams have Kante and that both teams were or are successful.

One man does not make a team. However, when you play like two men like Kante does, just his presence in the team can make a mighty difference to winning and losing, just ask Leicester.

Does N’Golo Kante get the credit he deserves?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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