Wednesday, May 25, 2022

‘He’s not immortal, he’s struggling’

N’GOLO KANTE is beginning to feel the effects of his selfless playing style.

That’s according to Emmanuel Petit, who reckons the Chelsea star is ‘struggling’ physically after putting his body on the line for years.

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Emmanuel Petit reckons N’Golo Kante is unable to keep playing at his old relentless paceCredit: Getty
Petit admits he would have loved to play alongside Kante in midfield

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Petit admits he would have loved to play alongside Kante in midfieldCredit: Getty – Contributor

Kante, 31, burst onto the scene with Leicester in 2015, playing a key role in their historic Premier League title win with his incredible work-rate and tackling prowess.

Kante secured a move to Chelsea the following year and won his second successive title in similar style.

The Frenchman, who achieved footballing immortality by then winning the 2018 World Cup, moved to the next level under Maurizio Sarri as he combined his intense running style with a brand new passing game.

However, years of physical strain took their toll during Frank Lampard’s first season as Chelsea boss, with injuries reducing Kante to just 22 games in the 2019/20 campaign.

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Kante is now only able to play several successive games before needing a rest.

And Thomas Tuchel has used him rather sparingly this season, with Kante only starting in 15 of Chelsea’s 29 league matches.

Former Blues star Petit believes it is now clear the see Kante is struggling to keep up with the frenetic pace of English football.

And Petit has called on Kante to ease up slightly in order to increase his longevity at the top level.

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Petit said: “You can see the last two years though, so many injuries. The machine isn’t the same anymore. He can bring the same energy and the same display on the pitch but not every three days. 

“I don’t know how many miles he has run over six or seven years in England. He has probably run twice around the world.

“He’s not immortal, the way he plays physically, you can see he’s struggling.

“He’s 31 years old and he’s not immortal, especially in this position in the middle of the park.

“I wish he could take care of himself a little bit more and be a bit more selfish, maybe think ‘I’m not going to make this run anymore’. 

“His sacrifices on the pitch are so overwhelming for his team-mates all the time, but Chelsea need the best Kante they can to win trophies and reach their targets.

I love this guy. I would love to have played alongside him on the pitch

Emmanuel Petit

“This is the end of the season and the most important part of the season so Tuchel cannot put Kante on the bench and tell him to rest. It’s impossible.”

Despite his plea, Petit still reckons Kante is one of the best players to ever grace the beautiful game.

And the former midfielder admits he would have loved to partner Kante for both club and country.

Petit added: “I don’t know players in my generation or any generation where everyone says ‘we love him’. I’ve never heard anything bad said about Kante.

“On the pitch and off the pitch, about his humility, his mentality, his personality. I love this guy. I would love to have played alongside him on the pitch.

“Because it’s based on trust, his qualities, his honesty, his sincerity. The relationship he has with his teammates. It’s based on loyalty. 

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“He’s so important to his mission on the pitch, he puts the team before himself all the time.  

“The best example of what we can have in football, the opposite of the stars that want to shine along without their teammates. 

“Kante isn’t looking for it, he just wants to win trophies, that’s his only task on the pitch.”

Petit spoke to SunSport on behalf of Genting Casino

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