By William Hill
Last Updated: 7th January 2020
The hype has quietened since N’Golo Kante was named PFA Players’ Player of the Year and clinched a second consecutive Premier League winners’ medal in 2016/17. Will he help France dominate the World Cup and become the name on everyone’s lips again?
Since the 27-year-old last won the title, he’s come eighth in the 2017 Ballon d’Or, won French Player of the Year 2017 and Chelsea Player of the Year 2018.
At one point last season, Chelsea were conceding 1.6 fewer goals when the Frenchman was on the pitch.
Despite these achievements, the hard work and high quality that he’s produced recently has been forgotten in the build-up to the big tournament.
Unsurprisingly, the focus has been on their top goalscorer contenders. Les Bleus have several forwards with short World Cup odds.
Antoine Griezmann is second favourite at 9/1, ahead of Kylian Mbappe at 28/1 and Olivier Giroud at 50/1. Ousmane Dembele and Paul Pogba have World Cup 2018 betting odds of 66/1.
Clearly, Kante won’t compete for that, but his overall contribution can be decisive.
During Leicester’s title-winning campaign, Sir Alex Ferguson complimented him by saying he was “by far the best player in the league”.
N’Golo Kante at Euro 2016
The tough-tackling workhorse carried his fine form into Euro 2016. In all the four games Kante was involved in, Les Bleus were victorious. This included knockout wins against Republic of Ireland and Germany.
France’s forward players flourished, with Griezmann, Giroud and Dimitri Payet all scoring three or more.
However, Didier Deschamps left Kante out of the final, a critical mistake that was punished when Portugal snatched victory in extra time.
Although he’s considered a defensive player, by retrieving possession so quickly and regularly he becomes a frequent platform from which to launch attacks. He drives through the middle of the park with the ball and is an underrated mid-range passer.