Antonio Conte has added his name to the list of people heaping praise on N’Golo Kante after the midfielder’s spectacular first season in west London.
Having already been voted the best player in the league by his peers, the Football Writers’ Association chose Kante as their standout performer of the season, too.
Judging from Conte’s words today he was not in the least bit surprised by the journalists’ choice.
‘I can say only positive things about N’Golo,’ the boss remarked.
‘He is a really good guy. He always has a smile on his face if he is working hard or not. He’s always smiling. It’s fantastic. N’Golo is having a great season with us. I’m pleased for him. To have this award is great, because in this league there are a lot of fantastic players.
‘The most important thing for him to have in his mind is a desire and will to improve, every day. I think N’Golo can improve a lot and can become stronger than now.’
Kante’s rise to the top has been truly amazing. It was not long ago he was playing in France’s third tier. Now he is on the verge of a second Premier League title in as many seasons. His success has brought to mind a similar story for Conte, who cast his mind back to his own playing days.
‘It’s incredible, this. In my life I saw another situation like this at Juventus. Moreno Torricelli was not a professional player, and then he started to play for Juventus, and then he played for the national team and he won a lot.
‘It’s great when you have this type of story. This story gives confidence for the people who are playing now not in the professional leagues, but staying amateur. Football always gives this type of possibility.’