N’Golo Kante is the latest footballer to be added to the tired old Twitter gag of: “Water covers 71% of Earth, Kante covers the rest” as the Frenchman’s tireless work ethic continues to amaze.
Leicester City’s former title-winner was his usual busy self against Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, including scoring the very well-taken only goal of the game to set up a FA Cup semi-final against Tottenham Hotspur.
The pre-match agenda was ready to be made: “Kante cost £32million and Pogba cost £89million; I know who I’d rather have”. And thankfully for all those who had drafted up those pre-emptive tweets, it all came to fruition.
Kante dominated, hustled and harried the Red Devils midfield and Paul Pogba, whose lackadaisical style lends itself easy to criticism, was nowhere to be seen. A victory for all those mind-numbingly painful ‘footy banter’ social media accounts.
— BenchWarmers (@BeWarmers) March 13, 2017
The Man of the Match performance Kante turned in at Stamford Bridge brought about the usual stunned shock in the pundits’ tower and usual cliché diatribe, with Frank Lampard the latest to fall foul of toeing the party line and recycling comments.
“Kante is the best central-midfielder in the world on current form.
“I can’t see anyone better than him at the moment.”
Modern day football has evolved so much that the intricacies of the game are so vast and slight, that you’re no longer able to pigeon-hole midfielders as just central-midfielders; there’s central-defensive, centre and attacking-midfielders.
There’s been lots of comments asking: “Is there anything Kante cannot do?” Well, yes, if you’re calling him a central-midfielder than he barely scores. Just two this season, both at Stamford Bridge and both against Manchester United. Furthermore, the former Foxes player hasn’t registered a single assist to his name in the Premier League for Conte’s side.
But that’s not what the French international is there to do; he isn’t the creator. But grand, sweeping statements from Lampard & co won’t help Kante in the long term.
Similarly in this video that has gone viral to highlight the amazing qualities of Kante. However, the Blues midfielder only wins the ball back three times because he has to, as he gives it away twice.
Kante summed up in 24 seconds. Unreal. This guy is not human. #KanteFacts
— Kante Facts (@KanteFacts_) February 26, 2017
If this carries on, Kante will no longer be able to deliver to the levels we unfairly expect of him; we are never happy and always want more; Kante’s top levels of performance suddenly become the norm and we then expect him to go up another gear, which isn’t humanly possible.
The same hyperbole around Michael Carrick has been overkill to the midfielder’s reputation, and he’s no longer England’s underrated international but the Red Devils overrated centre-mid.
We never learn.