Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has won the PFA Players’ Player of the Year award for the 2016-17 season.
The Frenchman secured the most votes from his fellow players; and saw off competition from team-mate Eden Hazard, who won the prize in 2015; and Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku of Everton, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez.
The Frenchman, who is on course to win a second successive Premier League title; after also being part of the Leicester side which upset the odds last season.A�The 26-year-old, who joined Chelsea for A?32m in the summer; receivedA�the award at the Grosvenor Hotel in London on Sunday evening.
Tottenham’s Dele Alli won the young player prize for the second successive year. Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze won the Women’s Player of the Year award.A�Birmingham’s Jess Carter won theA�Women’s Young Player of the Year.
The Rise of Kante
Kante was key to Leicester’s surprise Premier League win last year . He could become first player to achieve the distinction of winning successive titles with different clubs; if Chelsea can stay ahead of Spurs in this season’s race.
Since signing Kante in July, Chelsea have gone from a mid-table finish to the topA�with six games to play. In his absence, Leicester have largely struggled to replicate their heroics of last season and are still not safe from relegation.
After collecting his award, Kante said: “To be chosen by the players to be player of the year means a lot to me. It means the world to be chosen and it’s been two beautiful seasons; one with Leicester, and we are in good form with Chelsea. To be player of the year, it’s a great honour.”
On his move from Leicester to Stamford Bridge, Kante added “It’s a different type of playing; but with the manager, with the players, everything is easy; because we work a lot to be good in the games. It’s working very well.”
Kante praised the “winning mentality” of Antonio Conte and said Chelsea must continue to fight if they are to secure the Premier League title.
“Conte knows what he wants from the players,” he said. “He wants to win, and we work very, very, very hard in training for him. He put a winning mentality into the squad; and everyone wants to give their best for the team, and to make Chelsea win titles.
The Blues are four points clear at the top of the Premier League and Paris-born Kante added: “We have to fight for six more games. We’re going to fight like a final for every game; and hopefully we can win the league at the end of the season.”