…Wins PFA Player of the Year –
His dominance of the Chelsea’s midfield in their current Premier League title campaign is indisputable. Many fans admit that he is the cynosure of all eyes, ably piloting affairs and making things happen in the Blues’ corner all season.
So, to win the 2016-17 Professional Footballers’ Association Player of the Year award, 26-year-old N’Golo Kante had to dust the formidable quintet of team mate, Eden Hazard, Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Everton’s Romelu Lukaku, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez in the fellow players’vote.
In the wake of moving away from Leicester City where he played an active role in the club’s surprise Premier League win last year, the France international was considered a great buy for the Blues’ Italian manager, Antonio Conte. And he has not disappointed with the enterprising surge by Chelsea from a mid-table finish last year to top-of-the log presence, with just six games to go this season.
Having played every minute in the league this season, aside the Boxing Day match against Bournemouth, when he served out a suspension as well as the final 11 minutes against Tottenham on January 4, 2017, his PFA pick was quite expected.
The ball-winning midfield maestro, on course for the Premiership title triumph with Chelsea, having done so at Leicester last season, is upbeat and excited by his achievement. According to him: “It’s a huge honour to be chosen by the other players; It’s the biggest honour to get this award.”
“My first two seasons were very beautiful. Last season was very beautiful. This season so far, we have had a good season but we have to finish well”, said Kante, whose absence has hugely impacted on Leicester’s performance this term in their struggle to be safe from relegation.
Other awards winning performance of the season include: Tottenham’s Dele Alli picked as the young player for the second successive year, while Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze won the Women’s Player of the Year award.
Also, Birmingham’s Jess Carter is the Women’s Young Player of the Year while former England captain David Beckham received the PFA’s Merit award for his contribution to the game during the ceremony held at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday.
Similarly, former England women’s captain Kelly Smith – who became England’s first female professional footballer when she joined American side New Jersey in 1999 – bagged the PFA Special Achievement award. (NAN)