Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante named PFA Player of the Year

"It's a huge honour to be voted the victor of the award again by my fellow players", he said.

The Chelsea midfielder beat Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Romelu Lukaku, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Alexis Sanchez in the vote by his fellow players at Sunday night's ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel in London.

Kante was full of praise for new coach Antonio Conte when asked how he has slotted into the possession-oriented midfield at Stamford Bridge so seamlessly - having shone in Leicester's counter-attacking unit previous year. Without (Kante) for Chelsea it's hard and the same with Romeu, it's hard for us without him. It's a great achievement, ' said Conte in the build-up to Chelsea's game with Southampton on Tuesday. It is important for him to keep the will and the desire to continue to improve.

In his absence, Leicester have largely struggled to replicate their heroics of last season and are still not safe from relegation.

"He's working a lot, he's improving as a player and he's a really good guy", Conte told a news conference at Cobham on Monday afternoon.

Beckham won the PFA merit award after a career that saw Beckham represent England 115 times and also win titles with Real Madrid, the Los Angeles Galaxy and Paris Saint-Germain.

"I think he's a leader on the pitch by example".

Kante has scored one league goal and provided one assist this season, but it is his ability to break up play and shield Chelsea's defence that has been key for the team, with the midfielder making 110 tackles and 72 interceptions.

England global Gary Cahill has recovered from gastroenteritis and could be set to return after resuming training this week.

"N'Golo deserves it", said Hazard in the postgame interview following Chelsea's FA Cup win over Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

"Gary trained with us yesterday and also today", Conte confirmed. "I'm pleased for him".

"He [Conte] knows what he wants from the players".

"I was pleased with his performance".

The Spurs midfielder has been one of the bright sparks in an impressive Tottenham team and, like Kante, has added to his ever improving game.

  • Julie Sanders