Lampard: The only problem with Kante I had is I had to hold him back in training

Lampard: The only problem with Kante I had is I had to hold him back in training

N'Golo Kante was so impressive in Chelsea's Champions League run that it made a lot of people believe he should win Ballon D'Or this season already. While that is severely premature, it takes nothing away from the midfielder who is truly world-class and arguably the best at what he does. His former boss Frank Lampard believes it is much more than taking the ball and that isn't even his best attribute.

Lampard believes Kante is the man for the big matches, which he showed in the final.

"When I arrived at Chelsea he’d 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, we missed him a lot. 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," said Lampard.

For the English manager, it's the ability to attack spaces that makes Kante so good.

"The main reason why he’s so good that he’s the best in the world at being a disruptor. When I say destructor I’m talking about winning the ball back. To win the ball back with his anticipation, having the speed to get tight and close distances, 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 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."

Lampard was often asked about playing Kante as a pure defensive midfielder.

"I got asked it a lot, my feeling was that he had so many attributes that were more than just that, I was holding him back by saying, ‘please just sit there’. You have to allow N’Golo to travel with the ball. He can find passes I think people don’t give him credit for. His close control in tight areas is fantastic as well. Kante can do multiple jobs at the same time. He makes people around him better, he helps everybody."

The former Blues boss stated that everything said about Kante's personality is true and that he had only one problem with him, the lack of a lower gear.

"He’s exactly how you’d expect from the outside, nothing’s an act. He’s very humble, very quiet, he doesn’t want loads of conversation. 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 he does that, and you have to try to pull him back because he can just put that output into anything he does."


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