“He’s exactly what you see from the outside.”
Frank Lampard has opened up on what it’s like to manage N’Golo Kante as the French midfielder continues to impress on the biggest stage.
Kante is one the favourites to the Ballon d’Or this year and if France go all the way at Euro 2020, it would be hard to deny the midfielder, who recently won his first Champions League with Chelsea.
Kante struggled with injury during his first season playing under Lampard at Chelsea but the World Cup winner was back firing on all cylinders after the England legend was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.
Frank Lampard on Kante
Lampard has revealed that Kante, who comes across as quite shy off the pitch, behaves exactly the way you’d expect him to but he holds nothing back in training.
“He can do multiple jobs at the same time,” Lampard said on BBC. “He makes people around him better, he helps everybody.
“He’s exactly how you’d expect from the outside. Nothing’s an act, he’s very humble, very quiet and he doesn’t want loads of conversation.
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“The problem I found with him more than anything was trying to hold him back in training because every day you train and you let him off the leash in an opposed session, you have to try to pull him back because he can just put that output into anything he does.
“He’s incredible, he’s exactly what you see from the outside.”
Kante cost just £5.6 million when he was signed by Leicester from Caen in 2015 and even the £32 million Chelsea spent on the midfielder looks like a bargain when you consider the impact that Kante has had at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard couldn’t speak more highly of Kante and suggested that the 30-year-old is a more well-rounded player than Lampard’s former Chelsea teammate Claude Makelele, who is widely credited with redefining the role of a holding midfielder.
“When I arrived at Chelsea, he [Kante] had been off the back of playing so regularly for a few seasons because everyone relies on him so much, he’d had an injury that took him into my first season and we missed him a lot,” Lampard explained.
“You seriously miss N’Golo in big games because he’s a big-game player. Nobody will want to play against him because of the attributes he’s got.
“In those big games, finals, tournament football, players like N’Golo are just priceless.
“The main reason that he’s so good is that he’s the best in the world at being a destructor. When I say destructor, I’m talking about winning the ball back. To win the ball back with his anticipation and having the speed to get tight to close distances like no-one else in world football.
“His main attribute for me is destruction, leaving areas to win balls back. An old-fashioned holding midfield player you’d say would sit in front of the back four, Makelele did it years ago for Chelsea so well.
“But he [Kante] has so much more to his game. When you see the distances he closes to get in front of people, that acceleration and speed, that is something special to him. It’s very unique.”